A wrongful death settlement is not considered taxable income. While all income is taxable, there are certain exceptions when it comes to personal injury compensation and wrongful death compensation.
However, if you receive punitive damages on top of your economic and non-economic damages, then you may have to pay taxes on part of your settlement. An Atlanta wrongful death attorney can pursue financial compensation for your losses and refer you to a financial professional for specific tax information.
Many Damages in a Wrongful Death Settlement Are Not Taxable
Georgia allows certain surviving family members to seek compensation after a wrongful death that is caused by a negligent, intentional, criminal, or reckless act. If you lost a loved one through such action, then you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your loved one’s emotional support, guidance, or protection.
Types of damages you could recover through a wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses your loved one incurred before their passing
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Property damage costs (if your loved one suffered a fatal collision, for instance)
- Burial costs
- Loss of your loved one’s financial contributions and sources of income
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma of losing a family member
These compensatory damages are not taxable.
Depending on the other circumstances of your case, it may be possible to recover other forms of compensation. A wrongful death lawyer can explain more about what damages you could seek.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Wrongful Death FAQsWhat Requirements Must Be Met for a Wrongful Death Claim in Smyrna?What Are the Legal Requirements for a Wrongful Death Claim in Decatur?How Hard Is It to Prove Wrongful Death?How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work?What Is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death?What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Punitive Damages Are Taxable in Wrongful Death Insurance Settlements
While most compensatory damages (like end-of-life medical expenses) are not taxable, punitive damages are. Punitive damages intend to punish the party who caused your loved one’s death.
For example, if a serial drunk driver causes a fatal accident, the court may impose punitive damages to penalize them for their actions. The hope is that punishing the driver and setting a precedent will prevent others from acting with such carelessness in the future.
Because punitive damages are not part of your compensable economic and non-economic damages, they are considered extra income and thus taxed. It’s worth noting that punitive damages are not awarded in every wrongful death case.
Speak with your wrongful death attorney about punitive damages and whether they’re a possibility in your case. If so, they can go into further detail about how they’re taxable and your obligations come tax season.
Your Lawyer Must Prove Negligence to Seek Wrongful Death Compensation
You may seek wrongful death compensation if you can demonstrate that the other party caused your loved one’s death. This can be a complex process because the burden of proof is on you, the plaintiff. That is why it may be helpful to consult a wrongful death attorney who can help you navigate Georgia’s liability and negligence laws.
To seek wrongful death damages, the plaintiff must:
- Establish that the offending party owed your loved one a duty of care to take reasonable measures to avoid a loss of life
- Demonstrate that the offending party failed to uphold this duty of care through negligent, reckless, or criminal behavior
- Show that this breach caused your loved one’s death
- Prove that this wrongful death caused you and your surviving family members to suffer physical, emotional, and financial burdens
Even if you can prove all of these elements, the liable insurance company may refuse to settle, compelling you to file a lawsuit. In that instance, you generally have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. If you try to seek compensation after the statute of limitations for your case has passed, the court will likely dismiss your case.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
How Much Could I Get Through a Wrongful Death Settlement?
There isn’t a set dollar figure you could recover after a loved one’s passing. How much you can recover depends on many factors, including the role of your loved one in your life and the details of their death.
Georgia law allows compensation for what is known as the full value of that person’s life. This means you can recover damages outside of financial losses following your loved one’s passing. As noted, these are generally not taxable.
Your wrongful death lawyer can evaluate your case and outline what damages are compensable. Then, they may consult with expert witnesses and other parties to learn exactly what you’re owed.
Who May Seek a Wrongful Death Settlement
Spouses generally have the right to file a wrongful death claim for the death of their husband or wife. If there is no surviving spouse, the children of the decedent may bring a claim. If parents lose a child to a wrongful death, they may also bring a claim if there is no surviving spouse or children.
These details can be hard to understand, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the state’s legalese. When you hire a lawyer, they can explain your rights and advocate for what you deserve.
How You Could Benefit From Partnering With a Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death attorney can help you and your loved ones through the complicated legal process of seeking monetary compensation. At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we understand that this is a deeply emotional time for you. We will pursue justice on your behalf and ensure that all medical bills and non-economic damages (such as mental anguish) are accounted for in your settlement.
Our law firm can also:
- File your wrongful death claim or lawsuit
- Gather supporting evidence
- Advise you on your options
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Keep you updated on the legal process
- Calculate your economic and non-economic damages
- Explain which parts of your settlement are considered income
Our wrongful death lawyers also work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you don’t pay upfront fees to retain our help.
You Have Legal Rights as a Wrongful Death Claimant
Long story short: if you lost a loved one, you have legal rights when it comes to seeking maximum compensation. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers has recovered millions of dollars for wrongful death victims, and we can advocate for you, too. To consult with our legal team on your injury claim, call now.