If you’re a regular road user, whether as a driver, pedestrian, or passenger, you probably know one thing for a fact. There’s always a slim chance you could get involved in an accident. It could be a head-on collision, a side-impact, or even a stray vehicle that bumps into you while walking on the side of the road. These and other kinds of accidents do happen from time to time in Kentucky, most of which are caused by negligent road users.
If you or someone close to you was injured in a road crash or suffered damages from a road user’s negligence, the law permits you to seek compensation, which could either be through the halls of justice or from the other party’s insurance provider in the presence of a trusted accident attorney.
This being said, one question tends to linger in the minds of many beneficiaries of car accident settlements, especially when the tax season is fast approaching. Are vehicle accident settlements taxable?
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE:
- What is a car accident settlement?
- Tax-free settlements
- Taxable elements
- Discussing your case with a trusted accident attorney
- Key takeaways
What is a Car Accident Settlement?
After getting injured in a car accident and suffering various damages, one of the first steps to take is to file your compensation claim with the insurance company, under the guidance of a good car accident lawyer. This could be your own insurance company or the other party’s coverage provider depending on the nature of the accident and the damages being sought.
With the help of an experienced accident attorney, some of the damages you could recover include:
- Any medical expenses incurred
- Vehicular damages
- Lost income
- Pain and emotional suffering
Simply put, an accident settlement is monetary compensation given to an accident victim by an insurance company before the case proceeds to trial in a court of law.
Are These Settlements Taxable in Kentucky?
Much like in many other states, most of the proceeds of a car accident claim in Kentucky are generally exempted from income tax and other taxes as far as the IRS guidelines on taxation are anything to go by. However, you may be required to pay tax in case your settlement included special rewards like punitive damages or even proceeds like interest on the settlement you received.
Below are some of the elements that should never be taxed in a vehicle accident settlement. These include:
- Settlements For Physical injuries:
It is not uncommon to suffer physical harm after a road accident. Unless you take tax deductions for medical expenses and other related costs incurred as a result of physical injuries, the amounts awarded from your settlement are exempt from taxation.
Nonetheless, the said costs, expenses, or damages have to have been caused by the suffered injuries for you to be compensated in the first place. If clear proof for this can be established, then the compensatory amounts rewarded are usually tax-free.
- Vehicle Damage Compensation:
Whether you veered off the road and hit a boulder, or another road user crushed into your bumper, one thing is for sure. It is the car insurance provider’s responsibility to compensate you for the beating your car took from the road crash. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and who was at fault, the settlement could come from your own car insurance or the other party’s auto insurance coverage provider.
Settlements compensating vehicle damage are exempt from taxation. The insurance company may also decide to cover the repair costs, give you a monetary reward, or replace the car. Much of this will be determined by the kind of policy you have, and how well you negotiate at the table, making it crucial to have your attorney present with a solid case.
Car accident damages can vary widely from one case to the other. All so often, car accident victims get compensated for distresses not related to the accident. In such a case, you may have to pay taxes on part of the amounts awarded. Common taxable elements of car accident settlements may include but are not limited to:
- Lost Income/Wages:
After an accident, it is not uncommon to lose a considerable amount of income over the next few weeks, months, or even years that follow. This could be caused by physical injuries, trauma, and emotional distress, among other things that make you unfit for work.
Nonetheless, lost wages or lost income after a car accident are taxable. The assumption is that if the accident didn’t take place, you would have earned income, and this income would have been taxed. Simply put, lost wages might be part of your car accident settlement, count as income, making it part of taxable earnings.
As explained, punitive damages are damages given to a claim pursuant or accident victim while serving as punishment to the defendant for their gross negligence, to deter them and others from such bad behavior in the future. They are part of the compensation in some car accident settlements. If your settlement includes punitive damages, you should know that these amounts are subject to taxation.
- Interest On Settlements
You could receive a settlement and have the money sitting in the bank for some time, or invest it somewhere to earn interest. The earned interest will almost obviously be taxable money. It is supposed to be declared as interest income when filing your taxes.
Call an Attorney if You Have a Personal Injury Claim
Whenever you encounter an accident on the road, consulting a car accident attorney should be among the first things you think about – of course after calling 911 and medical help is on the way in case you’re injured. Experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyers can help ensure the insurance company doesn’t play tricks on you or try to minimize your claim if you’re a victim. They know the law, so they spell things to you clearly on what you should and shouldn’t pay for as tax after helping you receive the compensation settlement you deserve.
An automobile accident settlement should compensate you for your personal injuries, pain, or emotional suffering doesn’t normally require you to pay taxes. Also, compensation money for the repair or replacement of your car are usually not taxable.
However, some elements of these settlements may be subject to income tax, including punitive damages, interest earned from settlements, and lost wages. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers can guide you on what amounts are taxable and which ones are not. Call us 24/7 for a free consult.