Wrongful Death Law


May 22, 2020

Survival Action v. Wrongful Death

Death Certificate
to Death Certificate
Survival actions differ from wrongful death lawsuits in many ways. Our resident expert lawyer, Professor Michael Ehline, has provided a real eye-opener for those facing hard times after a negligent killing of a loved one.

May 22, 2020

Are Wrongful Death Cases Subject to Income Taxes?

Personal Injury Settlement Check.
Picture of a man holding a large settlement check he has won in a trial in civil court proceedings after the other party agreed to settle the case.
Picture of a man holding a large settlement check he has won in a trial in civil court proceedings after the other party agreed to settle the case. The short answer is no! Many injured victims in California have suffered the calamity of losing loved ones. So this could be a grandfather, child, husband, or wife, due to the negligence of another. Their providing wage earner has gone to the grave. Now they either get an attorney and sue or go broke. Often, money awards are in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars range. In any case, amounts will come due. These include money for the dead person's hospital and nursing home expenses. But can the award amounts get taxed? What about punitive damages? This article explores the tax consequences of a winning death case in the Golden State. Table of Contents: Caveat – Always Speak to a Tax Attorney Before Committing to a Settlement What Does the Tax Code Say? Descriptive Language Caveat - Always Speak to a Tax Attorney Before Settling. At the outset, we do not say we are tax attorneys. We merely cite the IRS code and dissect what it says. Other parts of the judgment, such as punitive damages, have tax consequences. So it remains important to consult an experienced attorney. But a tax preparer should also get contacted. That also helps settle and structure estate matters. What Does the Tax Code Say About Wrongful Death Taxation? California law clearly says personal physical injuries stay excluded from taxable income. Federal law proves in accord. But the caveat remains punitive awards. Internal Revenue Code Section 104(a)(2) says punitive damages remain taxable. However, those costs may get excluded under a state's statutes for wrongful death. (§ 104(c)). But this only applies if the damages occurred on or before September 13, 1995. The Conference Committee is cited by the CCH Federal Tax Service to report to P.L, 104-188 (1996) H.R. Rep. No. 104-737. This concluded that non-punitive damages for wrongful death would stay excluded as income. (See also Section 104 of the Internal Revenue Code). The Wrongful Death Tax Statutes And Codes. The descriptive language under Letter Ruling 200029020 and § 104(c) support this decision. (Revenue Rulings 69-8, 54-19, 75-127, 75-126, 83-44).
 Damage amounts awarded under a wrongful death statute may get excluded from the taxable estate. However, general amounts for the dead person are a little bit different. But medical expense refunds may be taxable. So the estate in a survival action is taxed in that case. Our advice? Get a tax attorney! As you can see, there a distinction exists between the survivors and the estate. Hence, when it comes to the decedent's pain and suffering, you would likely stay on the hook with the FTB. Your pain and suffering or medical bills get excluded as taxable. But the decedent's refunds and their pain and suffering seem taxable. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: As under U.S. Laws, readers and viewers of this material, please be advised that written tax advice, perceived or otherwise, is not "advice." (and reliance on this article is not authorized). In conclusion, this article discussed the tax consequences of a winning wrongful death lawsuit. We found that punitive awards can create a taxable event. Also, we discovered that survivor's cases might be taxable. But regular damages would remain excluded from income. But again, state and federal rules differ. So consult a tax specialist. Last, no taxpayer may rely on this article to avoid penalties. But if you wish to learn more about death claims law, contact Michael Ehline. He is a negligent death attorney in Los Angeles. Other Sources: https://www.taxtrimmers.com/taxfaq/death.shtml

May 21, 2020

Understanding Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claims

Understanding the LA death case 101.

May 20, 2020

A Short History of Wrongful Death Law

A short history of wrongful death claims under American Jurisprudence.

Jan 8, 2019

Families of Slain Men Want Patriots to Stop Paying Hernandez

Although the Hernandez murder and wrongful death cases are not in California, they do raise the interesting overlap. So here we discuss a civilian death claim and a criminal murder claim. In a court hearing several weeks ago, the attorney for the families of two people allegedly gunned down made a special tribunal request. He asked Hernandez to lose his bonus pay. According to the lawyer, parents want the judge to bar the Patriots from paying Hernandez a 3.2 million dollar bonus. Prosecutors say Hernandez allegedly fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012. They claim that Hernandez killed one of the men after he accidentally spilled a drink on him at a nightclub. Hernandez stands accused of fatally shooting the men weeks. Also, this was just weeks before signing a 5-year contract with the Patriots for 40 million dollars. Patriots attorney William Kennedy said the Patriots had challenged the rights of Hernandez. They say he should not receive the 3.2 million dollar bonus at all. Kennedy said he wants a court order if the team gets sentenced to pay Hernandez in an arbitration hearing. Hernandez got released from the Patriots in 2013. So this was after his arrest in connection with the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Is California Law Similar In Death Claims? In California, this is the same type of procedure that a wrongful death attorney would use. So he would make sure there is money set aside for the survivor's estate. However, it is hard to get such an order to issue. Also, this is since the defendant has to get convicted or found legally liable for the deaths. Last, appears in this case, however, that a stipulation by the suing parties gets entered. But the content of which is unknown. Hurdles and Bickering? In a case like that, at least one obstacle, survivors bickering over who gets what is not a basis to not enter the order. The next argument that is helpful to the suing parties is the contract prevents bonuses for certain violations of integrity or crimes. But again, it is hard when the case is still pending not to pay. But the arbitration agreement may allow the money to be set aside pending a court outcome. Consequently, assuming Hernandez gets convicted of murder, families would use the findings. Also, this can be res judicata or collateral estoppel. Furthermore, this could obviate a lengthy civil trial, unlike the OJ Simpson case. But in that case, an almost all-black jury found him not guilty of murder. A more balanced jury found him later liable for wrongful death. So the biggest problem with orders like this is the 14th Amendment recognizes the right of an accused of notice and opportunity to defend. Depriving Hernandez of money to pay a lawyer is clearly problematic. Hence, a court would need to narrowly tailor any such order that would deny him of his defense. Also, this could form the basis of a reversal on appeal.

Jan 6, 2019

AEG Not Negligent in Michael Jackson Wrongful Death

Just Beat it
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson Many of you people know one of the specialties we have at Ehline Law Firm involves wrongful loss of life claims. Thus, you are aware that we have been following this Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. Also, we realize no portion of money can ever adequately compensate a fatality victim. They never fully recover from mental, physical suffering and grieving. Hence, when a case has merit, we fight vigorously for the victim's best interests. Striving to retrieve the indemnification that our deserving clients seek is a daily thing. The Jury Returns. Here, the alleged victims put their best foot forward and lost. The breaking news relates that after being thrust into a four-day struggle to get to the bottom of the case, defendants prevailed. So only after enduring four painstaking days of deliberation, the wrongful death of Michael Jackson, brought by his mother and children, the jury has arrived at a losing verdict. This verdict comes just after the press was covering major and heated personality conflicts and allegations of uncivil behavior by counsel for both sides. Aside from that, there was a compelling closing argument. Also, we are sure the jury had no easy time in arriving at their decision. The Closing Argument. The jury determined that AEG was not negligent in the death of the singer. Dr. Conrad Murray had been hired and fit for the care he provided. So this relieves AEG of liability according to the verdict. But Dr. Murray was held criminally responsible for Michael Jackson's death in a criminal trial of manslaughter. However, AEG's, big business attorneys argued in court that Murray was good, and even licensed in several states to practice medicine. Also, they had no way of knowing what went on behind closed doors in the treatment of the singer by his star-struck doctor. During the five-month wrongful death trial, the lawsuit was asking for 2 million dollars. But AEG attorneys said that Murray's hiring was to ensure the singer was hydrated, not drugged. Michael needed to be medically in shape for the comeback tour then being promoted by AEG Live. So there was no collusion to keep Michael "high." Jackson's Comeback Tour Ended By His Death. Jackson died days before the start of the comeback tour. So that would have debuted in the summer of 2009 in London. AEG Live lawyers said that they did not believe that Michael Jackson was in danger of getting treated by Murray. Of particular interest here, he had never gotten sued for malpractice. He had several years of practicing medicine. So they said that Jackson was a secretive drug addict. The "Execution" Drug. AEG claimed he kept everyone in the dark. Hence, even his closest relatives knew nothing about the use of Propofol. Also, this is a potent drug used in prisoner executions. After five months of the jury listening to the AEG Live attorneys and witnesses, the panel came to its decision. They heard from Michael Jackson's mother and eldest son. Jurors heard them testify. Furthermore, they rendered their verdict after four days of deliberation. The finding was that the concert promoter was not liable for the death of the singer. At this point, it is unknown if the victims have paid a penny, as most injury firms advance costs. But we are confident this case was not a cheap expense to execute. So we know that there were competent attorneys committed to giving no-nonsense representation. Also, we are aware that most legal reps offer accurate, honest case assessments. So more than likely, the victims knew this case was not going to be a walk in the park. It is unknown whether or not an appeal looms. But typically, excellent and punctual attorneys, no matter how good they are, could have a judge erroneously exclude vital evidence. So we are sure we have not heard the last of the Michael Jackson saga.

Jan 4, 2019

Jury Seated in Wrongful Death Lawsuit of Michael Jackson - Was Voir Dire Easy?

Meeting your accident attorney
Michael P. Ehline, Esq. and his seasoned staff of legal professionals.
California Lawyer Controversy Surrounding MJ Wrongful Death

Jan 4, 2019

Can 911 Victims Finally Sue State Sponsors of Terror that are Donating Money to U.S. Politicians?

Disaster approaching catastrophe.
Los Angeles catastrophe meter.
Los Angeles catastrophe meter. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new law. This law gives American citizens the right to file death lawsuits against Saudi Arabia. Most of all, this is due to members of the Saudi Royal family orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. However, the Saudi government's ability to influence our elections with campaign donations is stunning. So it is highly likely the U.S. president will NOT sign this consumer rights legislation into law. Anyways, the Saudis, like ISIS, are a Wahabist Muslim country. So this is the same type of Islam followed by ISIS and Al Qaeda. And a lot of innocent people were killed in the 9-1-1 attacks by Wahhabists. Many of the deaths around the world due to terrorism were due to Wahhabists. Also, this Report is not intended to disparage moderates. How To Distinguish Shia versus Wahabist Islam? Of course, Iran has its Shia version of Islam. Also, it supports a world government dominated by its form of Islam. Both countries have their account of Islam as the official state religion. They have been at War for generations over who has the purest form of Islam. But both support and fund terrorism around the world. Anyone who supports Israel is an enemy of the Saudi royals and all of the Iranian government. Sometimes they will work together to fight a common enemy, like the U.S. However, we are not allies with Iran. This Report Deals With Rights to Sue Saudi Arabia for Wrongful Death. Here we discuss lawsuits against our U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, for wrongful death. We are not an ally of Iran. So how is it we are even allied with the Saudis? After all, they want to spread Sharia Law to the U.S., and they appear to have funded terror. Yes, Saudi Arabian royal family members allegedly support terrorist organizations. The country also supports terror organizations that support Wahabism and Sharia Law. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. It's proxy here in the U.S. is CAIR. Role of CAIR in Disinformation About Sharia Court Goals CAIR has helped coined terms like "Islamophobia" to attack anyone who opposes Sharia Law. So Wahabism is a strict form is Islam similar to that practiced by the founder of Islam, Mohamed. It requires the stoning of women who got raped. Also, it allows the rapes and enslavement of non-Muslims. Of course, this religious system involves the killing of homosexuals. Furthermore, it uses an Islamic doctrine called the "Al-taqiyya." But this is to deceive "infidels" as to the real goals of Wahabism. So this allows followers to blend in until their numbers are significant enough to influence the vote. But once they get large enough, they will simply be able to intimidate natives as they have done in Europe. Of course, this goal is a "caliphate," or if you prefer, a world ruled by Sharia Law. Why Do Progressives Support U.S. Indoctrination to Accept Sharia Law? Many westerners have been indoctrinated in their public schools or by the news media that Sharia Law is peaceful. Hence, it will not be above the Constitution. Under mainstream Islamic doctrine, no law can ever be superior to the Quran. All Sharia courts do is use the Quran's prescribed punishments above, and enforce them. Also, non-Muslims are second-class citizens under this Sharia Law system. Is there a Saudi Connection to the Nazis? Yes, there is! Sharia Law is the ultimate object of the Saudi Arabia Wahhabists. A statist system like this has been the envy of dictators for generations. Individual members of the Nazi SS followed a similar form of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood grew out of World War II and the Muslim Nazi SS Division. To this day, the PLO does the Nazi Salute. Muslims Doing NAZI Salute. The SS Handschar Division made such an impression upon Hitler that he wished Germany had been Islamic: 'During a meeting with a delegation of distinguished Arab figures, Hitler learned of how Islam motivated the Umayyad Caliphate during the Islamic invasion of Gaul and was now convinced that "the world would be Mohammedan today" if the Arab regime had successfully taken France during the Battle of Tours, while also suggesting to Speer that "ultimately not Arabs, but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire." Hitler expressed admiration for the Muslim military tradition and later directed Himmler to initiate Muslim SS Divisions as a matter of policy. - Wikipedia, Religion views of Adolf Hitler, Islam. Connection to Germany and Sheltering Islamic Fundamentalists? Syrian and Egyptian Islamic fundamentalists also sheltered German war criminals after the War. (Source.) Angela Merkel has moved forward with Hitler's will, by flooding Germany with millions of military-aged males from Syria and other Islamic countries. She is now forcing them into military conscription as part of her multicultural experiment. Rapes by male refugees and attacks against natives not following Sharia Law are at epidemic levels throughout Europe. Gun laws are so strict in these invaded countries that only terrorists seem to have firearms. Victims have little to no defensive guns. So why would these countries be letting in these scofflaws? After all, they refuse to assimilate, rape their women, and pillage their welfare systems. Follow the money. Who are the Biggest Donors to Politicians Who Support Open Borders?  Saudi Arabia! When the 9-1-1 partly redacted report implicated the Saudi royals as having helped Bin Ladin kill Americans. We are aware that Saudi billionaires and Soros backed foundations are donating billions to get as many immigrants from Islamic countries into the U.S. as possible. Follow the money. For example, just one Saudi Prince pledged $32 billion to promote Islam/Sharia in America. Also, the Clintons collect millions of dollars of donations from foreign organizations that support global Sharia Law. Saudi Arabia has so far funded 20% of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Tax records submitted by the Clintons show that Bill Clinton was an "honorary chairman" of GEMS Education, a Middle-Eastern-based company whose only goal is to teach and spread sharia law. Bill Clinton was paid $2.1 million by GEMS as they worked with the Clinton Foundation to expand their worldwide schools and teach people that sharia law is the best form of government. The purpose of GEMS's schools is to "teach all Muslim students the pillars of Islam, Islamic faith and morals, enabling them to efficiently apply them to their lives." . . Foreign governments like Saudi Arabia have donated huge amounts of cash to the Clinton Foundation..." Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) for 911 Victims. So the law passed as House Resolution 3815 is probably a non-starter. The current U.S. president is a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recipient of donor funds from Soros backed companies advancing Sharia Law. But the new law would help shed light on the corruption of members of the democrat and republican parties in placing the rights of people hostile to our country, over that of our own — another reason for its probable veto. This law is known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). It is a tort attorney's dream. The law makes an exception to sovereign immunity. This bill allows U.S. citizens to file a lawsuit against foreign governments. Because of acts of terrorism, that happens on U.S. soil killing Americans. Resolution 3815 Because fifteen out of nineteen men from Saudi Arabia hijacked commercial airliners, Resolution 3815 passed due to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. You will recall that terrorists used passenger jets as missiles to target the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The vote pushed to happen before the 15th anniversary of the attack this Sunday. Also, legislators in favor of the bill included Peter King, New York (R). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Wisconsin (R), approved the bill. Ryan gave permission as long as Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia (R), backs the bill. In the Senate version of the Bill, John Cornyn, Texas (R), and Charles Schumer, New York, (D) proposed the legislation. The bill passed in the Senate in May by 100 to 0 votes. So the House approved the bill Friday with a unanimous vote. But this gives the Republican legislature the votes to override a veto by the President. Lobbyists? As a result, Saudis, with the use of lobbyists and Democrats, has tried to block the bill. One of the groups was the Podesta Group.  Co-founding this group was John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager. John's brother, Tony Podesta, runs the Podesta Group. The Right to Sue, the Saudis For Wrongful Death Will Likely, Be Vetoed? Due to the incredible power that Muslim extremists now wield. The de facto control politicians, their friends in the press and U.S. bureaucracy. Thus, it is highly likely the U.S. president will veto this consumer rights legislation. Assuming it gets signed, it will blow a lid off of government corruption. Also, it will likely show foreign influence on U.S. elections. Whether the Saudis would ever pay a judgment is also unlikely. After all, they are a sovereign power with no clear duty under the treaty.

Jan 3, 2019

What are Your Rights When Your Loved One Gets Killed by an Illegal Alien?

Illegals and flag burning
Burning flag.
Burning flag. Many scared Californians realize the implications of making our home a "Sanctuary State." After all, the death of Kate Steinle sent shockwaves across the country. The 32-year-old died when an illegal alien brandishing an illegally owned pistol, fired it at the ground. But a fragment of the bullet round hit and killed Steinle. The killing by felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in San Francisco in July 2015, found Lopez in the country illegally from Mexico. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of wrongful death and injury to citizens by legal immigrants, with little to no ability to enforce the law or repay the victim. H.R.3011 attempts to handle some of the issues related to the illegal immigrant crime wave. So the text of the bill, otherwise known as the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015, can be read here on Congress' official site. Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon introduced the bill in July 2015. The bill remains with the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. But there's hope it will come to a full House vote this year. Sadly, Nevada Senator Harry Reid has worked hard to block this common-sense legislation that protects citizens. Kate Steinle's death was not the only case that has wounded the country. There have been many cases, especially in California, where illegal immigrants are driving against the law-- and without insurance. Because of these factors, in many instances in which there's an accident, the unlicensed driver will only take off, often not to be found again. There has also been a wave of drunk driving accidents caused by illegal immigrants. Coupled with a high crime rate in California and the troubling rise of Sanctuary Cities like San Francisco, all of these issues require action. Even more alarming is that every time the failed immigration policies of the current U.S. president result in a shooting, the California legislature proposes more anti-Second Amendment laws. (Take the San Bernardino Jihadists as an example - they used illegally obtained guns to kill Americans) The state legislature keeps using its own failed policies as a pretext to make Americans less safe. This dishonest policy has led to a rise in Donald Trump supporters. See The Video Here of Native Mexican Americans Outraged By Thugs Waving Mexican Flags at Peaceful Donald Trump Rally. Recently we have seen a rash of illegal aliens burning American flags and attacking Donald Trump supporters paid by democrat backed organizations like public employee unions advertising on Craigslist. The narrative they are pushing is that California belongs to Mexico, and they have no duty to abide by U.S. law. (See photos here.) However, they get free services here at U.S. and California taxpayer expense. And yes, many do pay some taxes. But much of what they pay in sales taxes, etc., is subsumed by the: Free healthcare A free school for their kids Food stamps and government-paid cell phones, etc. Most illegals do not file federal or state income taxes according to at least one study. What does a person do when a loved one is injured, killed, or assaulted by an illegal immigrant? Typically these illegals are from Mexico and have no assets of which to speak. Have they nothing to lose? To push back, an attorney specialized in both immigration law and personal injury/wrongful death law is a necessity.

Oct 30, 2017

Cruise Death

Cruise ship on blue ocean.
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents.
Why Are There So Many Cruise Liner Deaths? Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents. Tragedy struck an innocent family after their eight-year-old daughter died on a cruise ship. But the tragedy is only one of the dozens that happen each year aboard luxury liners. And often, the growing issue of cruise line safety is addressed inappropriately at the state or federal level. Fox40 reported on the situation with Miami-Dade police. There, a girl died on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Glory. And the ship had docked at Port Miami. So the story goes, the girl fell from the ship's interior atrium to the lower deck around 8:15 am. Next, first responders transported her to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she died. After, a spokesperson for the Fire-Rescue said the child fell about 20 feet. Potential Fault on the Cruise Line? Carnival apologized to the family.  But this is not enough redress Authorities allowed the ship to resume normal operations. However, death deserves a closer look. Rescuers and investigators must thoroughly review the ship's logs and activities. Most of all, the government must ensure that no future similar event occurs. Each life is precious.  Furthermore, the cruise line did not live up to expectations. So the family has many potential approaches. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to prevent a future such horror. Besides, Carnival and other liners should take safety more seriously. In the end, it is the least Carnival could do. But rest assured, our team is looking into the causes of the accident. Our lead attorney, Michael Ehline, is a top fighter for families harmed by cruise line companies. He is an advocate and lobbyist in both Sacramento and DC for cruise line safety. He's worked with legislators of both parties on necessary regulation to protect passengers. But no matter what, you can rest assured that we will be lobbying Congress to protect cruise ship passengers.