My neighbor mentioned that he settled his personal injury case and received a structured settlement. What is that?
When personal injury and wrongful death cases are settled, money is often paid in a lump sum. In other words, a check is made payable to the claimant and the claimant’s lawyer. The claimant’s lawyer deposits the check in his or her checking account and, when the check has "cleared," the lawyer writes a check to the client. The amount of the check to the client is reduced by attorneys’ fees and expenses, and is often reduced by monies needed to pay off subrogation interests or medical liens.
In a structured settlement, the claimant receives sufficient up-front money to pay attorneys’ fees and expenses, subrogation interests, and liens and some amount of money for the claimant the claimant also receives a contractual right to receive payments in the future. This right is in the form of annuity. Payments can be monthly, quarterly, annually or every 5 years. Indeed, there is virtually no limit to how the annuity can be structured.
Structured settlements have certain advantages and disadvantages. An experienced personal injury lawyer will often seek out the advice of a structured settlement broker to help you determine if a structured settlement is appropriate in your case.