Personal injury law, also known as tort law, is intended to protect an individual or their property from injury caused by someone’s actions or their failure to act. A successful personal injury case will result in the plaintiff receiving compensation from the defendant.
There are two different ways a personal injury case can be resolved and compensation can be reached. One option is a trial in which the case will be presented to a judge or jury. This is an opportunity for each sides attorneys to argue and refute the claims on behalf of their client. Ultimately, the judge or jury will decide if the defendant is found liable and to what extent so as to determine the amount of money owed to the plaintiff. The second option is a settlement.
A settlement is a decision on the plaintiff’s part, after deliberation between both attorneys, agreeing to accept payment and drop the case. Each sides attorney discuss the amount of money that will be paid, and the plaintiff’s attorney advises whether or not settlement is a good idea for the case. However, the final decision is left to the plaintiff and they can decide whether or not to take the settlement. When deciding the value of a settlement many things must be taken into consideration:
Length of treatment
Receiving a long-term diagnosis
Pain and suffering damages
All of the above costs can increase the amount of compensation the plaintiff receives in both a settlement or a trial.
Settlements are meant to cover any out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the incident and any potential future expenses. The settlement is meant to make the plaintiff feel “whole” again and reach normalcy after the accident.
Settlement payments can come in two different forms. The first is a lump-sum payout. In this type of payment the amount is paid to the plaintiff all at once, in one single payout. The other form of payment is a structured settlement.
A structured settlement is a form of compensation that is set up to send periodic payments over a previously agreed upon length of time. This type of payment can be utilized to handle potential future expenses. Structured settlements are highly flexible with different options for payment frequency, distribution amounts, and start and end dates. However, they are rigid once the contract is completed.