The way a wrongful death settlement gets paid out depends on your case. Every state allows the filing of a wrongful death suit when negligence causes the untimely passing of another person. The right to file these claims and recover the proceeds can vary dramatically from state to state, however.
The benefits of a wrongful death settlement are reserved for the decedent’s heirs. While they have the right to benefit from this type of legal action, only the personal representative of the estate is empowered to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only the personal representative can negotiate a settlement with the responsible party, too.
Wrongful Death Settlements Could Be Structured in Different Ways
There are many details surrounding a wrongful death settlement. These details could include specific terms in the release as well as guidance on how a claim or lawsuit is to be resolved. One of the most important issues to be addressed in a settlement for a wrongful death claim is how the payments should occur.
There are two approaches available when it comes to paying out a wrongful death settlement. The first is a lump-sum settlement. The second is a series of payments made through a structured settlement. Every settlement is different, and survivors could have their own reasons for preferring one type of settlement to another.
A lump-sum payment involves resolving a wrongful death case with a one-time monetary payment. Once this payment is received, the wrongful death case is resolved entirely. This option is common when it comes to negotiated settlements outside of litigation.
A lump-sum is often the best option when the survivors are attempting to manage the bills that stem from the death of their loved one.
Instead of a single payment, a structured settlement is dispersed over the course of months or even years. The at-fault party will make regular payments each month toward the full balance owed.
Structured payments are common when there is no insurance policy in place to cover the at-fault party.
To consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
Only Certain Family Members Can Receive Wrongful Death Settlements
The surviving heirs of the decedent are referred to as survivors under the law. Survivors generally include the spouse or children of the deceased person, but this category could include other family members as well.
The surviving spouse is always a survivor under state law. While children also frequently qualify, only children under the age of 25 are considered survivors. Finally, some parents are treated as survivors under limited circumstances. If the decedent is under the age of 25, the surviving parents have the right to pursue mental pain and suffering.
The personal representative of the estate has the right to pursue these legal claims, but they are required to act in the best interest of the survivors. For that reason, court approval is required before a wrongful death settlement can be finalized. By requiring approval from a judge, beneficiaries are protected and can object to a settlement they disagree with.
The Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Cases Differ From Personal Injury Claims
While there are similarities between wrongful death and personal injury cases, there are notable differences between the types of damages that could be claimed in a wrongful death settlement. These settlements not only include the final expenses related to a person’s passing but could also include the losses surviving relatives are facing.
The damages in a wrongful death settlement often start with damages suffered by the decedent leading up to their death. These damages are essentially compensation that the decedent could have pursued had they survived, such as medical care.
The damages affecting survivors may include funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, and pain and suffering. A wrongful death settlement could also include compensation for the loss of financial support and companionship survivors experience.
Understanding how wrongful death settlements are paid out is only part of the process of pursuing these cases. To secure a measure of justice for your loved one, it is important to understand the entire process.
Talk to Bogin, Munns & Munns About a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit
An attorney with our firm could serve as your advocate during this process while protecting your rights. During this difficult time, it is important to grieve the loss of a dear loved one.
Our compassionate approach to wrongful death settlements allows you to focus on the healing process while we work for you. We will shoulder the burden of handling your claim and/or lawsuit and manage every step of your case.
The team at Bogin, Munns & Munns understands how tough the loss of a loved one can be. To learn more, call (855) 686-6752 right away for a free consultation. A team member is standing by to listen to the facts of your case and get you connected to a dedicated lawyer of ours.