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Taxable Settlements for Wrongful Death in California

Jul 6, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Taxable settlements for wrongful death are typically exempt from taxation. According to IRS Rule 1.104-1, the compensation you get from a wrongful death settlement is not taxable. Any “compensatory” element of a settlement or award is exempt from taxation in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. For tax purposes, these damages are not deductible. They aim to compensate for losses a party has previously suffered.

Unfortunately, the analysis does not end there for the plaintiffs. Numerous survival actions result in significant punitive damages, which aim to hold a party accountable for their actions and deter others from taking the same or similar activities.

Punitive damages are sometimes high in these cases when a giant corporation is a defendant to have a significant effect on the defendant’s financial status.

The IRS will examine the nature of the alleged damages in determining the share of a settlement or award subject to tax. Furthermore, suppose the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages does not accurately reflect the “economic substance” of the payment. In that case, the IRS has the legal right to contest the settlement’s legal framework.

Exceptions to the Taxable Settlements

Various factors must be taken into account. There are some cases where an exception can apply, and punitive damages will not be regarded as taxable income. You can manage these obstacles with our team of wrongful death attorneys. Basically, you can negotiate the tax ramifications of your wrongful death compensation with an experienced attorney.

Do You Have to Pay State Taxable Settlements in California After a Wrongful Death?

According to California law, people who have lost a loved one as a result of avoidable mishaps or the malicious actions of others are frequently entitled to substantial monetary compensation. So, family members who are still alive have two independent legal options that let them demand various mutually incompatible damages:

Wrongful Death Action Tax Liability in California

Surviving family members like spouses, siblings, parents, and children can feel this lawsuit. Here are a few examples of damages family members can recover:

  • Funeral costs
  • Lost household services
  • Lost financial support
  • Lost companionship

In these legal cases, family members frequently receive compensation that exceeds millions of dollars. Because of this, many people thinking about pursuing a wrongful death or survival action question if there is any way to avoid having a hefty tax liability upon receiving a settlement or award.

Survival Action Tax Liability in California

According to California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, the personal representatives of a decedent’s estate bring the survival actions. Thus, survival actions allow them to pursue any personal injury claims that the decedent may have sought if he or she had survived.

All of the following damages an injured party can recover:

Wrongful Death Award May be Subject to Taxation in California

As California law allows for punitive damages in wrongful death lawsuits, a portion of the award from a survival action may be taxable. However, because wrongful death damages are limited to compensatory damages, any settlement or award you receive may be non-taxable. Of course, for specific information about your case, you should consult with an attorney who has experience representing clients in your situation.

Contact KAASS LAW Wrongful Death Attorneys Today!

You should contact our California wrongful death attorneys right away if you lost a loved one in an accident or as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. Our knowledgeable attorneys are aware of how crucial it is for families to receive justice through a successful legal proceeding.

Call 310-933-5171 now to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys. For more practice visit our other website.