Are you planning to sue someone for a wrongful death to receive compensation for your losses? If so, you may be wondering what will happen when you receive a settlement. Here is what you can expect to happen.
Know Who Is Eligible to Receive Compensation
The unfortunate death of a loved one can affect many people at once. While the impact can extend to many friends and distant family members, many immediate family members are usually impacted the most. This includes parents, spouses, siblings, and children, but can extend to anyone that was close with the deceased individual. This can make things a bit confusing about how to go about distributing a settlement when so many people have a valid claim to some of the compensation.
Negotiate Among Family
The first step will be to see if you can reach an agreement between all family members about how to distribute the settlement. In cases where there is a small settlement, it is common to only distribute the money to immediate family members that are directly affected financially. For example, if a husband was the one that passed away, that settlement money would be passed on to the surviving spouse and their children to make up for lost income.
In the case of a larger settlement, families typically distribute that money among the close extended family. This includes siblings and parents. Once again, negotiation must take place to work out an agreement to resolve how money is distributed, even among those close family members.
Settle with a Trial
When an agreement cannot be reached, the settlement may need to be decided on by having a trial. This situation can become complicated, but the goal of the trial will be to show how close family members were to the deceased person, which can justify how much of the compensation they receive.
For example, a distant sibling that has not been in contact with the deceased would have to justify why they should receive any of the settlement money. The same goes for children from a previous marriage that may not be in contact anymore with a step-parent that passed away.
Any immediate family members that suffered financial losses will need to demonstrate what those losses were to ensure that they are covered. This includes all funeral-related expenses. Loss of companionship and lost income are issues that should be handled separately in court if they are being challenged by other family members.
Work with a wrongful death attorney to ensure that you have the help you need to distribute a settlement.
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