A wrongful death is defined as losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of another party. A wrongful death may be caused by a vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or any other accident that results in death.
If you lost a loved one in an accident, you should consult an experienced wrongful death attorney as you may have certain legal rights and may be entitled to damages.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
In California, a wrongful death claimant may be entitled to any harm they suffered and are likely to suffer in the future due to the loss of a loved one. The monetary compensation is the total amount of benefits the claimant’s wrongful death attorney can prove that the claimant would have received had their loved one not died.
Under California laws, wrongful death claimants are generally allowed to recover compensation for the following damages:
– All past medical expenses, including hospital bills, treatments and any other medical related charges;
– All costs related to burial and funeral expenses;
– All past loss of wages
– Projected future loss of earnings and financial support (such as food, clothing, and shelter);
– Loss of services, such as household services, child services, and parental advice and support;
– Loss of consortium, companionship, love, comfort, affection and moral support;
– Any other appropriate damages that may be allowed under the law.
Tax Consequences for Wrongful Death Damages
In most cases, wrongful death damages and settlement are not taxable. However, you are advised to consult a tax adviser or a CPA for specific advice regarding your case.
Two exceptions to the rule include:
– Compensation damages for emotional distress and mental anguish exceeding the medical costs.
– Punitive damages, or damages that are awarded by a court of law as a form of punishment for a particularly egregious or outrageous act that caused the victim’s death.
In short, since each case is fact specific and the tax laws frequently change, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney as well.
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