At the time of a loved one’s passing, you’ll have a lot on your plate. You will grieve this person’s loss and miss his or her companionship. There could also be financial consequences in the aftermath of this untimely passing. Paying for a funeral and burial is not cheap. A heap of medical bills may also fall into your lap. You could get some help in the form of compensation if you file and win a wrongful death lawsuit. This money will not take away the pain of losing your loved one, but it could ease some stress during a difficult time.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in a Nutshell
A wrongful death action is a civil lawsuit where you claim that someone else’s actions caused the death of someone close to you (usually a family member). You and your lawyer must show that the other party was negligent or deliberately meant to harm or kill this person. This death may have come in the form of a car accident, workplace injury, medical incident, or other situations in which poor decision-making or disregard led to your loved one’s passing. Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages and sometimes punitive damages in the lawsuit. Many cases go to court, though some parties decide to settle out of the courtroom.
Surviving family members or estate executors often sue to pay for mounting medical bills. In a serious accident that ultimately kills a person, there could be extensive treatments and surgeries to try to save the patient. These costs do not go away when the person dies but likely will go to spouses, children, parents, siblings, or other responsible parties. Damages could cover these bills, along with hospital stays, medical equipment, and medicine. If you file a wrongful death suit, you may also seek compensation for money the person would have made at work. The damages may also cover the costs of a funeral and burial, as well as the loss of companionship and enjoyment with the person.
Many people who file lawsuits want to know whether their settlement money is taxable. Most compensation is not taxable. This includes money to pay medical bills and for funeral and burial costs. Also, any pain and suffering payment for the decedent between the time of injury and death is not taxable. However, money for lost wages and earning capacity is usually taxable. You will also have to count any interest from your settlement as income.
Understanding these issues will help you as you pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death lawyer, will make sure your rights and interests are protected.