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Jury Awards San Bernadino Family $33.5 Million in Police Wrongful Death

Posted by Robert Walch | Mar 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

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Considered one of the largest ever in a police shooting, a San Bernadino jury recently awarded a family $33.5 Million for their wrongful death claim. The huge financial verdict includes $18.8 Million in punitive damages.

NBC Los Angeles reports on the San Bernandino wrongful death case, "The jury found Wednesday that a San Bernadino deputy unreasonably detained 29 year-old Nathaneal Pickett, delayed medical aid and was negligent in the use of deadly force." Taking place outside of a Bartow motel, the grieving family had some pretty powerful evidence to present in their wrongful death case-- video and audio of exactly what happened. 

The large verdict represents, the financial and emotional impact the death of Pickett has on his family and also a punishment of what the jury found to be reprehensible police behavior. Wrongful death police cases happen all too frequently in California and throughout the United States and when they do, families should file a wrongful death claim against the city and the police department involved. The publicity and huge financial payout the city now has to come up with (they will appeal, of course) can help inspire positive change so that other innocent individuals do not have to die unnecessarily in the future.  

Potentially $33 Million richer, does the Pickett family pay taxes on a California wrongful death verdict of this size? Yes and no. When it comes to wrongful death and personal injury settlements (meaning the money you take home from your lawsuit), you do not pay taxes on the compensatory damages of the verdict but you do pay taxes on the non-compensatory damages. Here's what that means generally and for this case in particular:

  • Compensatory damages: Compensatory damages is the legal term used to classify part of the payout that is intended to cover things like: loss of current and future income, medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering. In the case of Nathaneal Pickett, the compensatory damage portion of the jury verdict came out to be $15.5 Million and these funds his family does not have to pay California taxes on. 
  • Non Compensatory damages: You pay taxes on the punitive damages portion of a payout and punitive damages are rare. Here the punitive damages amount to $18.8 Million and are actually from a survival action the family simultaneously filed along with the wrongful death lawsuit. The difference between the two can be confusing which is why it is always best to work with a top Southern California wrongful death lawyer to help maximize your recovery.

Have you been injured or lost a loved one as a result of police actions? You may have a personal injury or wrongful death case but you only have six months to file a claim before you lose the opportunity to collect much-needed funds. While $33 Million is extremely high, these cases are worth a lot of money and can be extremely helpful to the family and victims. Time is of the essence so get in touch with Walch Law today. We are here to help. 1-844-999-5342

About the Author

Robert Walch

Partner Robert Walch is passionate about helping individuals and families that are dealing with the aftermath of a serious personal injury or wrongful death accident. Robert has been working at Walch Law since 2000 and has developed a reputation as a caring and compassionate attorney that keeps his clients in the loop on the progress of their case and works hard to get the best results possible. Robert is a huge reason why the Walch Law Firm has a success rate of over 95% on their serious personal injury and wrongful death cases.

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