Personal Injury Settlements 101

One way to take care of a lawsuit without waiting for it to wend its way through the court system is to agree to a settlement.

A settlement can be a desirable outcome for all parties, since it hurries the process. You are assured a set amount of money (you never know what a jury or a judge will award you in the end — no matter what you ask for), and the defendant is able to pay what’s owed on move on.

How a Settlement Works

A legal settlement is designed to help parties in a dispute come to an agreement. If you are entitled to money due to the actions of another person or a company, you might decide to sue. Once your intention is made known, the other party needs to prepare to meet you in court. The responsible party can decide to allow the legal process to go forward, or you might be offered a settlement.

With a settlement, you agree not to sue after all. If you move forward with the suit, and the process begins, it’s still possible to settle. In these cases, a settlement stops the lawsuit in court, and you agree on different terms. The other party might agree to cover all legal bills, and provide you with a certain amount of money.

If you agree, you have to drop your suit, and usually agree not to sue the other company or person over the same matter in the future. Even though the agreement might be reached outside of court, the law still upholds the agreement. If you break your end of the deal and decide to sue anyway, the other party can decide to sue you for breach of contract. If the other party doesn’t pay as agreed, though, you have legal recourse.

Structured Settlement

In some cases, the other party might not be able to pay the entire amount at once. Instead, you are offered a structured settlement. In this type of settlement, you are promised regular payments of a set amount until the obligation is completely discharged.

A structured settlement can mean a regular source of income for you, and can be beneficial in some ways. The IRS has agreed that, if you meet certain requirements, the federal taxes associated with structured settlements can be waived.

Structured settlements make the whole situation a little more manageable for the party paying the money. As a result, there is the potential that you could receive more overall if you are willing to agree to a structured settlement, rather than insist on a lump sum payment.

Consult Your Personal Injury Attorney

Before you make a decision about any settlement, you should consult your personal injury attorney. You need to know if you are being offered a fair amount — especially if you are being offered a settlement from an insurance company. Your lawyer can help you determine whether or not the settlement is right for you.

It might be that the offer you receive is insufficient. In that case, you can move forward with the lawsuit. Such a show of resolve can lead to the other party coming back with a more reasonable settlement. On the other hand, if a settlement is about the best you can expect, your attorney can advise you to accept it. Lawyers have seen these situations before, and have a good idea of what you are likely to receive.

We have the knowledge and experience to know what to expect, and what is reasonable for your situation and injury. Work with a good personal injury attorney to ensure that your settlement is what you deserve.

About the Author: Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson is a founding partner of the law firm Morris Anderson, one of the leading personal injury firms in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has resolved hundreds of cases and obtained millions of dollars for his clients. Circle Ryan on Google+!

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