Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in Appleton?

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?

Are you uncertain about the tax status of your personal injury settlements?

In Appleton, personal injury settlements are generally not taxable, as they are compensation for physical injuries or illnesses. It means individuals receiving a personal injury settlement in Appleton do not need to report it as income on their federal tax return.

Let’s find out what portion of your personal injury settlement in Appleton is subject to taxation and understand any potential financial obligations.

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?

Personal Injury Settlements Explained

Personal injury settlements are agreements between an injured party and the person or party responsible for their injuries. These settlements typically involve compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred due to the injury.

Types of Settlements Included in Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury settlements come in various forms and understanding the different types of settlements is significant for anyone seeking to navigate the complex process of taxation involving personal injury claims.

  • Lump-Sum Settlement: Lump-sum settlement amount is a one-time payment that settles the entire claim. The injured party receives the agreed-upon amount, and the case is closed.
  • Structured Settlement: In this type of settlement, the compensation is paid in periodic installments over time rather than in a single lump sum. Structured settlements can provide a steady stream of income to cover ongoing medical expenses and living costs.
  • Punitive Damages Settlement: In cases where the defendant’s conduct is deemed particularly egregious, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.
  • Wrongful Death Settlement: If a person dies due to someone else’s negligence, a wrongful death settlement compensates the deceased person’s estate and surviving family members for their loss.
Types of Settlements Included in Personal Injury Settlements

What Parts of Personal Injury Settlements Are Not Taxable in Appleton?

In Appleton, Wisconsin, the taxability of personal injury settlements depends on various factors, including the nature of the damages awarded. Generally, compensatory damages intended to reimburse the injured party for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are typically not taxable.

These amounts are intended to restore the individual to their position if the injury had not occurred. Therefore, they are not subject to federal or state income taxes in Appleton.

IRC Section 104 exempts taxable income for lawsuits, settlements, and awards. Following are some examples of non-taxable income: [1]

  • Compensation for personal injuries received under workers’s compensation acts
  • Amount of any damages received due to personal physical injuries, excluding punitive damages
  • Compensation received for personal injuries through accident or health insurance
  • Financial damages received by an individual for disabilities resulting directly from acts of terrorism or military actions
  • Pensions, annuities, or similar allowances received for personal injuries or sickness of those who have served in the armed forces, the Coast Guard, or the Public Health Service

What Portion of Personal Injury Settlements Are Taxable in Appleton?

In Appleton, Wisconsin, the portion of a taxable personal injury settlement depends on the specific details of the settlement. Generally, any portion of the settlement designated as punitive damages or interest may be subject to taxation.

Damages received for non-physical injuries such as emotional distress, defamation, and humiliation are subject to taxation. Punitive damages are generally not excluded from gross income except in cases involving wrongful death. [2]

The compensation received for emotional distress or mental health condition related to a non-physical injury is treated as taxable income.

Discrimination suits based on age, race, gender, religion, or disability may result in compensatory, contractual, and punitive awards, which are not excluded under IRC Section 104(a). [3]

Interest earned on any settlement is classified as “interest income” and should be reported on line 2b of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. [3]

Compensation for lost wages in most cases is includible in the gross income and is subject to taxation in Appleton. According to IRS Publication 525, compensatory damages received for breach of contract duty of care or copyright infringement are taxable income.

What Portion of Personal Injury Settlements Are Taxable in Appleton?

Contact the personal injury lawyers at Goldberg & Loren to navigate obtaining your settlement in Appleton. Schedule a free consultation today!


Settlements for emotional distress or mental anguish stemming from a physical injury are non-taxable. However, emotional distress settlements not related to a physical injury are subject to taxation.

Given the complexity of tax laws and the nuances of personal injury settlements, it's recommended to seek guidance from our experienced personal injury attorney to ensure compliance with regulations and maximize benefits.


[1] 26 USC 104: Compensation for injuries or sickness. (n.d.).

[2] Tax Implications of Settlements and Judgments | Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.).

[3] Settlements—Taxability. (n.d.). Internal Revenue Services. Retrieved January 29, 2024, from

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