Are Car Accident Settlements Taxable in Louisiana?

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First things first—no. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you may be eligible for a settlement through a personal injury claim. Once you’ve received your settlement, there are a few reasons why it won’t be taxed, such as:

  • There’s an understanding that you aren’t expected to pay taxes on a car accident settlement that’s meant to compensate you for your personal injuries or pain and suffering
  • Money you would receive from your settlement to get your car fixed or replaced usually isn’t taxable.

These same tax rules apply regardless if you received an out-of-court settlement after your car accident, or were awarded money from a civil court after trial. 

Your car accident lawyer should be able to provide you with a general understanding of the taxability of your settlement, however, most personal injury lawyers aren’t experts in tax law. Keep the more complex questions about the tax implications of a car accident settlement for a tax professional.

Understanding Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury settlements are designed to compensate individuals who have suffered harm as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. These settlements can cover a wide range of expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In Louisiana, personal injury settlements are generally not taxable on the state or federal level. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if your settlement includes compensation for lost wages, that portion of the settlement may be subject to taxes.

Furthermore, cases from insurance companies settled outside of court typically don’t involve taxes on the state or federal tax level. However, there are some situations where a settlement may be considered taxable. For example, if the settlement is considered punitive or includes compensation for emotional distress, the IRS may consider it taxable.

Factors that May Impact Taxation of Personal Injury Settlements

While personal injury settlements are generally not taxable, there are a few factors that could impact whether your settlement is taxable or not. These factors include:

  1. Punitive Damages: If your settlement includes compensation for punitive damages, the IRS may consider it taxable. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior and are not typically included in settlements.
  2. Emotional Distress: Compensation for emotional distress may also be considered taxable by the IRS. However, if the emotional distress is related to a physical injury or illness, it may be considered tax-free.
  3. Attorney Fees: If your attorney fees are paid out of your settlement, the portion of the settlement used to pay those fees may be taxable. However, if you pay your attorney fees separately, they are generally considered tax-deductible.
  4. Interest: If your settlement includes interest on the amount awarded, that interest may be taxable.

How to Ensure Your Personal Injury Settlement Isn’t Taxable

If you want to ensure that your personal injury settlement isn’t subject to taxes, there are a few steps you can take. 

First, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you negotiate a settlement that is fair and equitable.

Secondly, it’s important to understand the specifics of your settlement. Make sure you know exactly what the settlement covers and whether any portion of it may be considered taxable. Your attorney can help you with this.

Finally, it’s important to document any expenses that your settlement covers. This will help you to justify any tax-free portion of the settlement to the IRS if necessary.

How to Maximize a Personal Injury Settlement from Taxes

If you’ve been in a car accident you should Get Gordon! Louisiana law defines a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, so you should call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys at 888.501.7888 as soon as possible after your accident. That will give us the most time to look into your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve!