The settlement amount you receive in a wrongful death claim remains untaxable, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in IRS Rule 1.104-1. The IRS makes the wrongful death settlement non-taxable because it classifies as part of a claim that resulted from personal injuries or physical illness.
Understanding your wrongful death lawsuit settlement’s taxable state can help you make your settlement last as long as possible and provide for your family’s needs for as long as possible.
Understanding the Taxable Portions of a Wrongful Death Settlement
Certain circumstances can complicate the question of whether your wrongful death lawsuit settlements classify as taxable. The IRS does not tax your wrongful death lawsuit settlement. Under specific circumstances, they may tax other settlement portions or amounts including:
- The portion of your settlement you received for medical bills and expenses deducted from your income in previous years.
- Certain portions of a settlement you receive for emotional distress if the distress you experience did not result from a personal injury or illness.
- Proceeds from a lawsuit or insurance settlement that classify as punitive damages.
Your lawyer for wrongful death may help you understand how each portion of your settlement classifies and how it may affect your compensation’s taxability.
Assignment of Wrongful Death Losses
The way courts assign portions of a wrongful death award may affect the settlement taxability of a wrongful death suit. Florida Statute 768.21 defines how courts award losses in a successful lawsuit for wrongful death:
- Loss of financial support caused by your loved one’s wrongful death.
- Loss of future financial contributions your loved one would have made.
- Loss of household and other services your loved one would have contributed.
- Loss of the company and companionship of a parent or spouse caused by their wrongful death.
- Mental and emotional anguish caused by the loss of your loved one due to a wrongful death.
- Money you spent on funeral costs and burial expenses for your loved one.
An award for punitive damages might make portions of your settlement taxable. Courts award punitive damages when the person who caused the injuries or death of your loved one did so intentionally or without regard for how their action might affect others.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-593-3443
Qualified Survivors Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit when a family member’s death results from someone else’s reckless or careless actions. Not everyone related to the deceased person qualifies to receive financial compensation for their wrongful death.
Florida Statute 768.18 says the following family members may pursue the at-fault party for wrongful death:
- A surviving spouse.
- A biological or adopted surviving child younger than 25.
- A biological or adoptive surviving parent.
- A biological or adopted surviving sibling.
A surviving sibling must prove their deceased loved one provided some or all their financial support to qualify for a monetary award. Discussing your relationship to your deceased family member with your wrongful death attorney may help to determine whether you qualify for financial compensation.
Safeguard Your Ability to File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A claim for financial compensation due to the wrongful death of a loved one takes time to plan and file. You and your wrongful death lawyer need time to gather evidence and identify, locate, and interview witnesses.
Your lawyer may need additional time to locate expert witnesses, gather your complete medical records, and schedule depositions as needed. You may also need time to focus on your physical and emotional recovery while your attorney for wrongful death works on building your claim.
Each state has a time limit that determines how long you have to successfully file a claim for wrongful death. This time limit classifies as a statute of limitations, which your lawyer can explain. He may help to ensure the statute of limitations on your case does not lapse, which could cause you to lose your right to file a wrongful death case at all.
We Can Help You Maximize Your Wrongful Death Settlement
A successful wrongful death suit can result in a substantial financial payout for you. Winning a financial settlement only begins the process of replacing the income and support you lost when you lost your family member. You may also need assistance understanding what makes wrongful death lawsuit settlements taxable versus tax-free and how to make the most of the proceeds from a settlement.
Maximize your settlement and make your monetary award last as long as possible with the help of our wrongful death law firm. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-593-3443.