How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

If you have lost somebody that you care about due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual or entity in Tennessee, you may be able to recover compensation for your loss. In this state, the law allows various parties to file wrongful death lawsuits in these situations. However, the wrongful death lawsuit process can be complicated. Here, we want to discuss how wrongful death settlements are paid out as well as the types of compensation that may be available.

Where Does the Compensation Come From?

When a person loses their life due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual or business, it is not uncommon for the family members or the estate of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. In these cases, the claim will generally be made directly against the person believed to be responsible for the death, but that may not be where the money comes from if compensation is awarded.

Often, these claims end up being paid by the insurance carriers of the at-fault party. For example, a death caused by a vehicle accident may end up being paid by the vehicle insurer of the at-fault driver. Claims for a death that occurs on a person’s property may end up being paid by homeowners insurance.

Structured Settlements Versus Lump-Sum Payments

In general, there are two basic ways in which wrongful death settlements will be paid to family members or the estate of the deceased. This includes structured settlements or a lump-sum payout. Also, be sure to know about the taxes that will due as well.

  • Structured settlements. Structured settlements are one option for wrongful death payouts, and these types of settlements will typically disperse any damage awards through ongoing payments to the deceased’s family members. This type of payment will help provide continuous support, typically through monthly payments, for a long period of time. However, this will take away the ability of family members to pay off debts all at once after a settlement is agreed to, and it can be very difficult to change the terms of the agreement at a later date.
  • Lump-sum payout. When a case is settled out of court, it is not uncommon for the plaintiffs in the case to receive a lump sum payment for the full award amount. In these situations, the family members or the personal representative of the deceased will receive the damage award all at once, including coverage for all financial losses as well as pain and suffering losses. This will allow family members to pay off any large medical debts or legal fees upfront and allow them to eliminate any major financial debts that have accrued due to the loss of life.

Types of Compensation Available for a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee

There will be various types of compensation available to family members or the estate of the deceased. In general, personal injury settlement or jury verdict amounts are meant to provide compensation for economic and non-economic losses a family sustains. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Any pre-death medical bills the deceased incurred
  • Pain and suffering the deceased incurred after their injury but before their death
  • Funeral or burial expenses
  • Loss of future earnings the deceased would have earned had they lived
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, care, and guidance of the deceased
  • Loss of consortium damages for a spouse

The total amount of compensation available in these situations will vary depending on the factors related to each particular wrongful death claim. It is crucial to work with a skilled Tennessee wrongful death attorney who can help evaluate the entire situation and guide families and the estate of the deceased through this process.