Understanding Wrongful Death Settlements
What constitutes wrongful death?
Wrongful death happens when someone dies due to the intentional
actions or negligence of another person or party. Whether the harm
was intentional or not, the deceased’s family will need to pay
medical and funeral costs without the income that the deceased may
have provided. The deceased’s loved ones undergo a great deal of
emotional and psychological suffering, as well.
What are wrongful death settlements?
With a successful wrongful death claim, the deceased’s family may
be able to obtain financial compensation for the damages with a
structured settlement. The deceased’s family can then benefit from
the consistent stream of income that the settlement provides.
Wrongful deaths could include any of the following events:1
- Car Crashes
- Workplace Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Slip and Falls
- Faulty Products
Who can make a wrongful death claim?
The claimant, or the person (or party) that has suffered hardship
due to the deceased’s wrongful death, is also known as the real
party in interest.” Real parties in interest are also generally in
charge of the deceased’s estate. Different states may expand or
alter this definition. The real parties in interest might consist
- Spouses and Children - The immediate family of the deceased are typically the most common
claimants in wrongful death cases. Adopted children can file a
claim, as well.
- Dependents - Domestic partners or other financial dependents can file a
wrongful death claim in some parts of the country.
- Distant Family - Depending on the state, grandparents or siblings can also file
wrongful death claims. This proves especially true if they were
guardians of the deceased.
In some cases, the parents of a fetus that perished before or after
birth can also file a wrongful death claim. For further
information, look into the laws specific to your state.1
How does someone file a wrongful death claim?
The process for pursuing a wrongful death claim is complicated. For
the best chance at a favorable wrongful death settlement, experts
suggest hiring legal representation. They can help you navigate
complex legal matters and how they may change depending on your
state, like the statute of limitations. Having professional
guidance in these matters can make this process much more
Reaching a Wrongful Death Settlement
Often, wrongful death cases settle before entering the court
process. Additionally, there are options for using a structured and
binding process to settle outside of court, there are two main
- Arbitration - A judge or other qualified authority hears the cases of both the
defendant and the claimant over a number of meetings. After ruling
in favor of one party, their decision is legally binding. In
instances of non-binding arbitration, the verdict can sometimes be
appealed. The claim may still enter court if neither party finds
the arbiter’s recommendations favorable.
- Mediation - Although similar to arbitration, the mediation process simply
involves a professional mediator that listens to both parties and
provides suggestions for settlement.3
Depending on the nature of the claimant’s damages, they have
several options for payout. For example, receiving a lump sum
payment may help the deceased’s loved ones pay for current medical
and legal fees or eliminate debt. A structured settlement, on the
other hand, can serve as a steady stream of income for the
Although this option provides less flexibility, it can act as a
substitute for the income that the deceased would have provided.
After a structured settlement is agreed upon, it can be difficult
or even impossible to alter its terms. However, there are other
ways to get cash now if you need access to your funds sooner.
Contact J.G. Wentworth
At J.G. Wentworth, we have helped people with wrongful death
settlements understand the options available to them concerning
their payments. If you want to sell your structured settlement
payments to get cash now, we are here to answer your questions.
Need access to your money now? Contact a J.G. Wentworth
representative today to get a free quote on the sale of your
structured settlement payments. Whether you want to sell all or
part of your payments, we can help you get the money you need to
meet your goals.
The above is some basic information on the topics, and is not a
complete guide. J.G. Wentworth Financial Solutions is a purchaser
of assets and does not provide legal, tax, or financial advice.
Please contact independent