How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out? - Sara Williams ESQ

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?

May 5, 2021

A personal injury case is a legal action pursued by someone whom another individual (the fault party) has hurt. The plaintiff, the individual who is injured, seeks compensation from the defendant or at-fault party.

If you hope to win your case, you have to prove the defendant’s negligence or recklessness. You can prove negligence by pointing out if the person at fault in an auto accident had, for example, sleep issues or concentration issues. Using evidence and speaking to eyewitnesses, a plaintiff might prove negligence during the claim process. 

After you and your experienced lawyer have reached a fair settlement or maximum settlement with the at-fault individual(s), the next step is to expect settlement checks.

How Are Personal Injury Settlement Funds Paid Out?

There are two major ways for the defendant or fault party and insurance adjuster to pay out settlement funds for compensation claims. It can either be paid as a single lump sum or in a series of periodic payments in the form of a structured settlement.

Lump-Sum Payout

A lump-sum payout is when the insurance company (adjuster) or defendant pays your compensation in a single entire settlement or payment instead of in installments. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster might pressure you to take a structured settlement. But if you have discussed with your licensed attorney and insurance adjuster and have decided to take a lump sum, you can say “No.”

Some of the benefits of lump-sum payment include:

  • Freedom to pay outstanding bills and debts right away
  • It is not as complicated as a structured settlement
  • You have the freedom to do what you like with the entire settlement, for example, starting a business or investing the money
  • You would have your entire settlement at once

Structured Settlement Payment

On the other hand, a structured settlement is when you get your compensation in smaller and periodic payments. Before you agree to a structured settlement, you need to discuss your options with your attorney and financial advisor extensively.

In a structured settlement, you can personalize the payment to whatever terms you like. For example, you can decide how you want your initial settlement to be. However, when you and the other party reach a settlement agreement, you cannot change it again. In other words, there is a limit to this type.

For your structured settlement, there are two options: the life-only annuity and period-certain annuity. While the life-only annuity will continue for the rest of your life, the period-certain annuity will only be for a length of time that has been specified in the contract.  

If you are concerned that you would mismanage your money if given a lump-sum payout, you can opt for a structured settlement. Also, some would prefer to have the security of regular and long-term payments. If you fall under this class of individuals, you can choose a structured settlement.

How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Claim?

Most plaintiffs are unaware of how much they can get from their claim. Some of the issues that play major roles in determining how much an injured person can get for their claim include:

  • The severity of the injured person’s injuries
  • Degree or extent of the injured person’s pain and suffering
  • The at-fault individual’s insurance policy limits
  • Estimation of your future medical treatment
  • Monetary damages you get in a personal injury claim, e.g., property damage, medical bills, child support payments, etc.

An injured person might use a settlement calculator to determine how much they would get. However, the settlement calculator might not be as accurate as an experienced personal injury lawyer who would give you a firm value for your claim.

If you want to get a rough idea of how much compensation you can get for your claim, you have to get a total amount of your monetary damages and actual losses. Generally speaking, a victim can get as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.

What Are the Damages in a Personal Injury Claim?

There are three types of damages in a personal injury claim. These are the economic or monetary damages, non-economic damage, and punitive damages. Compensation covers the expense that the victim spent in handling the aftermath of the accident or personal injury case.

Economic Damages

Under economic damages, we have the following actual losses:

  • Medical expenses and bills. They cover the amount of money you spend on medical treatment due to the accident. You can find your medical treatment history in the medical record your hospital gives you.
  • Cost of future treatment
  • Loss of income, future wages, and earning capacity
  • Property damages
  • Loss of consortium like loss of affection, companionship, child support payments, etc.
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Legal or filing fees

Non-Economic Damages

Pain and suffering damages are the major damage that you can get under non-economic damages. This is coverage for the pain and suffering the injured parties of personal injury cases endure due to their injuries. 

Injuries like permanent injury, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, etc., not only give physical pain to the injury victims and have mental effects. This could manifest as mental anguish. It does not matter if they are minor injuries or severe injuries, victims suffer emotionally.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are special damages the law might give defendants as a way of punishments. If the court finds out that the defendant purposefully hurt the plaintiff, they may pay punitive damages.

What Are the Benefits of Legal Representation in a Personal Injury Case?

After experiencing car accidents, wrongful deaths, medical malpractices, product liability, etc., you might feel puzzled about the next step to take. This is where a skilled attorney comes in handy. Below are some of the responsibilities of an attorney.

Experienced Attorneys Understand the Legal Process

If, as a plaintiff, you are not familiar with the legal procedures and limit in a personal injury case, it might be confusing and overwhelming. Your lawyer is familiar with the legal process, and they have to walk you through the whole process. They would stay with you through every step of the lawsuit.

Attorneys Are Motivated To Help You

Because most personal injury lawyers do not get paid if you do not win the case, they are motivated to win your case. To this end, they charge a contingency fee. This motivation allows them to go the extra mile for you and your case. In the end, when you win, you get your coverage for the damage, and they get their attorney fees.

A Licensed Attorney Gathers Evidence and Speak to Witnesses

If you hope to prove the negligence of an at-fault driver, for instance, you need to gather enough evidence and speak to eyewitnesses who were at the accident scene. This is why it is important to hire legal representation; they would carry out this responsibility while you recover.

Attorneys Help in Decision Making

In personal injury cases, there are several decisions you would have to make, for example, deciding if you want a lump-sum payout or a structured settlement. A qualified personal injury lawyer would let you know the pros and cons of each choice you make.

Attorneys Handle Negotiation  

Settlement negotiations with a compensation insurance company or adjuster can get messy if you do not prepare. The insurance company or adjuster would try to give the accident victim fair compensation against the maximum compensation. However, after negotiating with your lawyer, you can be sure to get the highest settlement money.  

Sara Williams, Esq., Can Get You the Maximum Auto Accident Settlement

Now that you’ve learned about payment settlements and the advantages of getting legal representation, it is evident that you need an experienced lawyer. Sara Williams, Esq., is an award-winning personal injury attorney that is enthusiastic about bringing justice to her clients.

Sara Williams and her team of skilled accident attorneys have principles of being all in, going all out, and getting you above the average payout. They believe that the client and their case should receive the firm’s full attention and engagement.

We have helped several clients recover millions of dollars in compensation. Contact us today, and you can be certain that you would get the maximum benefits and compensation you deserve.

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