When you file a personal injury case against the driver that hit your car and sent you the hospital, the goal is financial. Accident victims seldom have any other recourse to ensure that justice is served except through monetary means. While the criminal court system will deal with the driver who was drunk or purposefully reckless, you will need to attack the case using the civil law system. The hoped-for end result of a successful case will mean money, whether that money is attained through a court judgment or a settlement offer. Read on to learn more about how this money is paid and why it matters.
Settlements and Judgments
Both of these mean one thing to accident victims: money. A settlement check can be paid in as little as a week or two once you sign the agreement. When you take a case to court and win, the judgment must be paid within a set period of time, often no more than a month. In both of these cases, however, there is more to it than just getting the money into your bank account. If you have the opportunity to be paid using a structured settlement, you might want to keep in mind some important points.
The good points about structured settlements
1. Taxes: Depending on the amount of your settlement, a consultation with an accountant about the tax implications might be in order. In general, personal injury settlements are not taxed, but sometimes there are punitive awards and future medical payments that might be taxed. Taking the regular and smaller payments might help you avoid paying taxes.
2. Investments: Putting your settlement to work for you might bring you greater rewards as long as you invest it well. Taking a structured settlement might be particularly advantageous to younger victims since it provides more time for growth. With a lump sum, it might be too tempting to spend too quickly.
3. The future: It's impossible to foretell the future, but a structured settlement might help victims deal with unexpected future needs. Taking the money in a lump sum fashion might mean the funds disappear too rapidly.
4. Flexibility: You don't have to take an "all or nothing" approach; you can take part of your settlement in a lump sum and then have the remainder structured. This can be helpful for those who need a quick infusion of cash to deal with medical needs and bills. This is known as a hybrid plan.
This decision should be well-thought-out since the way you take your money will affect your life greatly. Speak to a law office like 1-800-AutoLaw Law office of Stephen Mortelliti for more guidance before you sign the paperwork.