When a person suffers a personal injury, such as a car accident, that was caused by the negligence of someone else, the injured person may be entitled to collect monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses. Settling an injury claim has never been more difficult. Over the past several years, various entities have begun claiming liens or rights of reimbursement on injury settlements or recoveries. These entities will not do anything to assist in the recovery of the funds. Instead, they want the injured person or his/her attorney to do all the work and then pay them back in the end. These various entities can include Medicare, Medicaid, or even the person’s health insurance company. Over the next few weeks, we will look at these different entities and why it is important to be aware of them when settling or receiving compensation for a personal injury claim.
I recently had a conversation with some colleagues about whether lost wages that are collected in a personal injury case are taxable as income. The answer is that they are not taxable and are excluded from a person’s gross income. The IRS excludes from gross income all funds received as compensatory damages when a person has suffered a personal injury or sickness. The IRS has had a long-standing policy that such damages should not be taxed.