Victims of auto accidents may be entitled to compensation for the damages sustained. In general, in order to receive damages, the victim must show that the other driver was negligent. In many auto accident cases, insurance companies offer payment to settle the dispute without requiring the parties to go to court. Settlement amounts depend on a variety of factors and each case is different. A personal injury attorney can represent victims of auto accidents throughout the process to help you make informed decisions. A personal injury attorney can also negotiate on your behalf and make sure your interests are protected. A settlement should be sufficient to compensate for all of the damages you sustained in the accident, as well of those that will continue in the future.
In many auto accident cases where a settlement is paid, an insurance company pays the funds over a period of time rather than paying a one time, lump sum. This arrangement is referred to as a structured settlement or annuity. These structured payments put less of a burden on the payer and provide tax benefits for the recipient. An annuity may also have certain interest benefits. Many recipients of annuity payments in an auto accident case desire payments to be received earlier or in larger quantities. Unfortunately, breaking an annuity is not an easy task and it can rarely be accomplished, unless the terms of the settlement agreement specifically allow alternative payout options.
One option when an annuity cannot be broken is to petition the court to set aside the annuity. If there are compelling reasons to set aside the annuity or other valid legal arguments to accomplish the same, then you may receive relief from the restrictions. However, this relief is rarely granted by the court and is only permitted in extreme situations.
Another option is to find an entity that purchases the settlements from auto accident victims. These arrangements usually have significant limitations and require the victim to forfeit a large portion of the total settlement to be received. Ultimately, if you qualify for this type of arrangement, you will likely give up a substantial amount of the settlement.
If you are currently involved in an auto accident or other personal injury claim, contact a personal injury attorney before you accept and settlement offers. A personal injury attorney can make sure that the settlement arrangement takes into consideration your particular needs at the current moment and in the future. A personal injury attorney will also be able to advise you about settlements, so you make an informed decision. This will help you understand if a settlement offer is fair and adequate to compensate for your needs. Do not delay contacting a personal injury attorney.
If you previously accepted a settlement offer and need advice about breaking an annuity or otherwise expediting the payment process, then a personal injury attorney may also assist. A personal injury attorney can review the technical aspects of your settlement agreement and determine if there are any alternative methods to receive payment. In some instances, a personal injury attorney may be able to petition for relief from the restrictions of the annuity. A personal injury attorney can also assess the viability and legality of offers from third parties to pay in exchange for your interest in the annuity.
About the author
This guest blog post was written by Anna Jacobs, a lawyer with El Dabe Law, a Los Angeles personal injury law firm.