How to Divide a Wrongful Death Settlement
When reckless or negligent actions result in injury, it can be traumatic. These situations are especially shocking when they cause a death. If another person or party is responsible for a loved one’s death, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death attorney Roger “Rocky” Walton fights hard to get his Arlington, TX, clients maximum compensation for losses related to their loved one’s death, often through a pre-trial settlement. Since a settlement does not specify how rewards should be split, we can advise our clients on how to divide a wrongful death settlement.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
When a person dies, there are many loved ones left to grieve their loss, including both family and friends. On top of the emotional distress, many people who were financially dependent on the deceased now have to adjust to a completely new financial situation.
Individuals who suffer financially following a loved one’s death may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of Texas, the law allows a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by the:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- Surviving adopted children or parents
Although each of these people has the right to file a wrongful death claim, it is not necessarily practical for each party to pursue their own compensation. Instead, we usually advise that one family member make a claim. If a settlement is rewarded, we can help our Arlington clients divide the money appropriately.
Considering the Needs of Minors
Even though multiple people have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, they do not all have an equal right to settlement rewards. When considering how to best divide a financial settlement, the first question that needs to be asked is whether the deceased has any minor children. If so, their needs should be considered a priority. Sufficient money should be distributed to any minor children or their surviving parent or guardian, so that their needs can be provided for. Any remaining settlement money can then be divided among other complainants.
Coming to a Division Agreement
If all beneficiaries are adults, settlement rewards should be divided as fairly as possible based on the loved one’s relationship with the deceased and their financial dependence on the deceased. Ideally, surviving loved ones should come to their own agreement about how a settlement should be divided. Or, they should agree to hire their own attorneys and let them work together to divide rewards appropriately, using previous legal precedent as a guide.
Unfortunately, some families are unable to agree on a fair division of a wrongful death settlement. If it is clear that family members are in disagreement about the division of a settlement, they should consider hiring their own attorneys to pursue separate wrongful death lawsuits.
If another person’s reckless or negligent actions has led to the loss of your loved one, you should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit to seek financial compensation for your losses. If you’d like to discuss your situation with attorney Roger “Rocky” Walton, contact us as soon as possible or call our practice at (817) 533-4120.