When a loved one dies because of the actions of another person or company, a Wrongful Death claim (or "lawsuit") can be filed in the civil courts on behalf of the deceased. The family that is bringing the case to the courts is known as the "plaintiff" and the person or company that may have caused the death is known as the "defendant" in the Wrongful Death claim. Civil courts handle all cases that involve awarding damages or other appropriate amounts to the plaintiff, whereas criminal courts involve action being taken by the state after a crime has been committed.
When a judgment by the civil courts has been found to be in favor of the plaintiff, the case has been won on behalf of the deceased and types of damages that may be recovered in these lawsuits vary from state to state. The way the deceased handled their finances while living, the income that would have been earned if the deceased had lived, the actual costs caused by the death (including medical expenses and funeral arrangements), and pain and suffering of the deceased's family may all be considered by the courts in determining how much to award. The awarded amount is known as the "settlement" and is usually paid out over a specified, or "structured," length of time by the defendant in the lawsuit.
After a "structured settlement" (payments that will be made over time) has been awarded to the family of a deceased individual, a "structured settlement factoring transaction" may be done to allow a "lump sum" payment, which is a single larger payment, instead of waiting for many payments of smaller amounts that have been awarded in a Wrongful Death Settlement. The plaintiffs then sell their rights to receive all or part of their future payments to someone else in order to receive the lump sum right away.
There are many possible reasons that people may find they need a larger amount to be paid to them in a shorter amount of time. Situations where there are unexpected medical expenses for themselves or a dependent, loss of employment, educational needs, improved housing, or transportation are among the many common reasons people choose this type of transaction.