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What Is a Structured Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?

If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you may expect to settle your case for one large lump sum payment. But, at some point, your personal injury attorney may discuss with you the possibility of a structured settlement. You ask, just what is a structured settlement?

A Structured Settlement Defined

The simplest definition of a structured settlement is one in which all or part of a personal injury damages award is made over a period of time instead of in one lump sum. Commonly, a portion of the award is paid immediately to the injured party with the remainder, the amount that is “structured,” to be paid through an insurance company that specializes in annuities. Annuities provide a steady stream of income to the receiving party over a defined period of time.

Various aspects of the structured settlement can be negotiated. For example, your attorney can negotiate:

  • How much money you will initially receive and how much will be part of the structured settlement.
  • How often you will be paid, whether monthly, biannually, annually or whatever works for you.
  • How much money you want to receive in each payment.
  • For how many months or years you will receive payments.
  • How you want payments to be structured if you have not received the entire sum due you by the time you die.

The calculations as to how much money you will periodically receive for a structured settlement are complicated and often require the assistance of a professional economist or accountant working with your attorney to determine the future income you will receive based on the present value of the settlement amount.

There are many ways in which personal injury settlements may be negotiated. A structured settlement is just one of them. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim and have questions about a structured settlement, contact us at Campbell & Associates. Our personal injury lawyers in Charlotte, NC have the experience you need to assist you in pursuing and settling your claim for damages. We will answer your questions, make sure all of your rights are protected, advise you about your case and discuss with you whether any type of settlement is in your best interest or if a better option is to proceed to trial.


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