How Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Distributed?
Upon settlement of a wrongful death claim, money will be distributed proportionately to each heir based upon the loss of the following factors:
- Financial support,
- Affection, counsel, and advice,
- Care and solicitude for the welfare of the family, and
- Comfort and pleasure the family would have received (Oxendine v. Overturf, et al.).
Distribution is based upon the heir’s standing at the time of death. It does not consider changes that occur later, including remarriage. The money goes directly to the heirs and only passes through the hands of the personal representative. The estate does not participate in this process, and the personal representative cannot distribute the money like the rest of the estate.
If a person that qualifies to be an heir is not included in the distribution of the settlement, the lawyer representing the heirs may be liable. The heir may obtain counsel and pursue a separate claim. This is the only exception to the rule that all heirs must pursue their claims in one case. Also, if any of the heirs are under 18, then no more than 50% of any benefits can be distributed until a court appoints a representative to handle the child’s benefits (Utah Code 78B-3-106.5).
What Can I Hope To Recover for Wrongful Death?
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one or ease the pain, you are entitled to recover some damages, including:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of anticipated earnings
- Pain and suffering of the surviving family members
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of medical benefits
- Loss of pension benefits
- Punitive damages
According to the Utah Constitution, there is no limitation on the amount of money that can be recovered unless specified by Utah law (Article 15, Section 5).
How Can I Deal With All Financial and Legal Problems From Wrongful Death?
When you have financial and legal problems from wrongful death, our attorneys are here to help. Seeking recovery for the loss of your loved one can become complicated and lengthy. We at Good Guys Legal want to help make it easier for you. See how we have helped other people who have lost loved ones, and contact us to learn how we can help you pursue your legal claim.