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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Payout Legally Explained in 2024

The compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is typically intended to benefit the surviving family members and dependents of the deceased person. The money is distributed according to factors such as the laws of the jurisdiction, the circumstances of the case, and any agreements or court decisions involved.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that can be filed by the surviving family members or dependents of a person who has died as a result of someone else's wrongdoing. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek monetary compensation for the losses and damages suffered by the survivors due to the passing of their loved ones.

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How is Money Distributed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The exact distribution of compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit is distributed based on the following factors:

  • Beneficiaries - Wrongful death lawsuit compensation is intended for the benefit of the surviving family members and/or dependents who have suffered losses as a result of the death. Common beneficiaries typically include spouses, children, parents, and other close relatives.
  • Estate Distribution - In some cases, the compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit may be distributed through the departed's estate, which is subsequently distributed to the beneficiaries per the terms of the deceased person's will or the laws of intestate succession if there is no will.
  • Damages and Losses - The compensation is often meant to cover various losses and damages suffered by the survivors, including medical costs, funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of consortium, and emotional distress.
  • Survival Actions - In addition to a wrongful death claim, there may be a separate legal action known as a survival action, which allows the estate to pursue damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived (i.e. pain and suffering, medical costs).
  • Court Decisions - The court may help determine how the money is distributed, especially if there are disputes among family members or if the deceased person died without a will. Court decisions are arrived at via applicable laws and the specific circumstances of the case.
  • Structured Settlements - In some cases, the compensation may be structured as periodic payments or an annuity, rather than a lump sum.

If You Are Involved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit, you should speak with a civil rights attorney who specializes in these types of cases in order to navigate the legal complexities and ensure that the money is distributed according to the laws of the state and the specific circumstances of the case. Laws regarding wrongful death and compensation distribution can vary, so seeking legal advice is important for understanding your specific situation.

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