The payout of wrongful death settlements can remove a huge weight off the shoulders of the family members that lost a loved one.
Losing a loved one can change you forever. The sting of the loss is even greater when it is due to a disregard for your loved one’s well-being. In many cases, family members may also be facing financial uncertainty that furthers feelings of sorrow and distress.
Although nothing can replace your loss, the payout of a wrongful death settlement can be a huge help to the victim’s family. It can help them plan their financial future. Before seeking compensation though, it is important to understand the type of damages you can pursue and how the court pays wrongful death settlements.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
In cases of wrongful death, Alabama only awards punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for negligence, recklessness, and intentional misbehavior. They are also meant to keep them from repeating the behavior that caused the incident.
Alabama law does not allow the courts to award damages for medical bills or pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The person who will get the money from the settlement depends on a few things. Alabama’s intestate succession code decides these things. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are one of the following:
- surviving spouse
- surviving children
- the personal representative of the victim’s estate
- surviving parents
- a sibling or other next of kin
Payout of Wrongful Death Settlements
When the person who filed the wrongful death suit successfully sues and wins their case, there is eventually a payout of the award. The defendant’s insurance company pays all or a portion of that settlement amount. If the defendant was uninsured, they are personally responsible for paying the money awarded.
Once they receive the settlement, the estate or personal representative distributes the money to the surviving family and other loved ones. Generally, the surviving spouse and children will receive funds.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regards the payout of a wrongful death settlement as tax-free. However, you still need to declare the money on your tax return.
The time frame is also important to consider. There is a two-year statute of limitations after the death to file a wrongful death suit. This means they must contact a wrongful death lawyer fairly quickly.
Therefore, if you are already burdened with the loss of a loved one, we understand the additional strain a lawsuit can place on you and your family. That’s why our knowledgeable attorneys are here to lighten your load by taking care of your legal concerns.
You can focus on taking care of your family. Contact the experienced injury attorneys at Siniard, Timberlake & League. We can help.