According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a wrongful death settlement is not considered taxable income. The IRS explains that while all income is taxable, there are certain exceptions provided for benefits awarded in the case of personal injury compensation and wrongful death compensation.
However, there may be other factors that affect taxation depending on your individual situation. An Atlanta area wrongful death attorney can help you to pursue compensation for your losses and can also refer you to a financial professional for specific tax information.
If you lost a family member because of another person’s accidental or intentional action, you could be entitled to seek compensation for your economic and emotional losses.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Settlement
Georgia allows certain surviving family members the opportunity to seek compensation after a wrongful death that is caused by a negligent, intentional, criminal, or reckless act. You have the legal right to pursue compensation for having to live without your loved one’s economic and emotional support, guidance, or protection.
A wrongful death settlement may help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses for your loved one incurred before their passing
- Final expenses including funerals, burials, and cremation
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma of losing a family member
Depending on the other circumstances of your case, other forms of compensation may be possible. A lawyer can explain more about what forms of compensation you could seek.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
How 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 when it may be helpful to consult a wrongful death attorney who can help you navigate Georgia’s liability and negligence laws and handle your legal case during a difficult time in your life.
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 losses
You also must file a wrongful death lawsuit within a certain amount of time following the date of your loved one’s passing, according to 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.
Why Surviving Family Members Seek a Wrongful Death Settlement
It is understandable to want to pursue compensation and justice for the wrongful death of a loved one. Losing a loved one may be difficult enough, but losing them to a preventable accident or violent act can be overwhelming, leaving families with many financial challenges. Many seek compensation to make up for the economic loss caused by a loved one’s passing. Further, this may be a way to hold the liable party accountable for their actions.
You may find that a wrongful death claim may bring some closure. It may also compel the defendant to take more responsible action in the future, thereby sparing another family from a similar loss.
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How Georgia Law Applies to Wrongful Death Settlements
Georgia law allows compensation for what is known as the full value of that person’s life. This means that the court is not limited to economic losses such as income and other financial protections that a family loses after their loved one’s death.
The full value of life can apply to your emotional, intangible losses as well; for instance, an empty chair at the dinner table or a child growing up without both parents. These are losses that cannot be calculated in the same manner as adding up funeral expenses or medical bills.
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 lost a child to a wrongful death, they may also bring a claim.
A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
A wrongful death attorney can help you and your loved ones through the complicated legal process of seeking compensation. At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we understand that this is a deeply emotional time for you and can pursue justice on your behalf. A wrongful death settlement is usually not considered income by the IRS, and it can ease the financial burdens caused by your loved one’s passing.
Please call (404) 888-8888 for a free consultation with a member of our firm.