How Does a Structured Settlement Work?
Structured settlements have become increasingly popular since Congress passed the Periodic Payment Settlement Act in the 1980s. (1) When the injured party agrees to a structured settlement, the defendant must fund the annuity account.
The annuity guarantees payments will be paid to the injured party on a regular schedule. A structured settlement agreement will be drawn up and this agreement details the series of payments that will be paid out to the individual and how much they will receive with each payment.
Worker’s Compensation laws were put in place to protect injured workers and their employers. These laws require employers to carry insurance, so claims can be paid, should a worker become injured on the job. When an injured worker is awarded a worker’s compensation settlement, they may receive a lump sum payment or may be offered a structured settlement.
A worker’s compensation structured settlement is meant to partially replace the wages the worker would be earning during their recovery period. It can also be used to replace the wages the worker would have earned throughout their lifetime; in the event they became permanently disabled on the job.
In most cases, the injured worker is given a smaller lump sum payment at first and then a structured settlement agreement is drawn up that allows the worker to continue receiving payments until they are fully recovered or through a specified period of time. There are a few different benefits to choosing a structured settlement over a lump sum amount and it is imperative injured workers survey their options before making a final decision on their payout.
Get the Help of a Lawyer
Before signing any worker’s compensation structured settlement agreement, injured workers need to make sure they carefully read the agreement and have their lawyer review it. Once the document is signed, it is legally binding and the injured party will have no further legal recourse.
A lawyer will make sure the structured settlement is fair and will give the injured party the financial security they need. The lawyer can help negotiate the terms of the structured settlement, so changes can be made according to the needs of the injured party.
Negotiating the Structured Settlement
Most every part of a structured settlement can be negotiated with the employer and their insurance company. If the injured worker is not happy with the terms of the agreement or wants to make changes, they or their lawyer can meet with the employer and negotiate the terms to better satisfy their needs.
With a structured settlement, injured workers can receive lifetime payments and even pass their payments on to their heirs, should they become deceased before the payout terms have been met. Those who receive a structured settlement may even cash in their future payments to receive cash when they need it, though this must be approved by a judge.
While the vast majority of doctors are skilled and do a great job in treating patients, there are some who are negligent. If you have been injured due to the malpractice of a doctor, you may be able to file suit and receive a structured settlement. Next of kin may also file these cases if their loved one dies due to a doctor’s negligence.
What is a Medical Malpractice Structured Settlement?
A medical malpractice structured settlement is a form of compensation given to an individual who has been harmed due to the negligence of a doctor. The structured settlement is put in place to pay the injured party of a certain period of time.
The settlement provides the individual with a reliable source of income that can help pay bills and help with other financial situations while off from work.
If an individual has sustained medical harm from a doctor, or died while under medical care or treatment, they have a right to file a malpractice suit. You must be able to prove your malpractice claim. You actually have two options. You can negotiate with the doctor’s insurance company to receive a settlement. Another option is to file a lawsuit and have a judge settle whether or not the doctor is at fault.
Other actions that can go under the malpractice umbrella:
- Surgical procedures that were not needed
- Surgical errors
- Discharge from a hospital early
- No regard for patient’s medical history
- Inability to identify symptoms
- Prescribing the wrong medication or giving the wrong amount
- Misreading lab reports
Before you file a medical malpractice claim, do the following:
- Talk to a Doctor – While it may be uncomfortable for you, you should talk to the physician in question. See if you can find out what went wrong and whether or not it can be fixed. There are times when both parties can come to a mutual conclusion. However, if you honestly believe you have been harmed, you should proceed to the next step.
- Find a Lawyer – Enlist the help of a good medical malpractice attorney. Under no circumstances should you attempt to handle a medical malpractice claim on your own. A lawyer has the experience that is needed to handle your claim. They can give you all the information you need regarding medical malpractice structured settlements. And more than anything else, they can help you get the compensation you deserve. There will likely be many malpractice lawyers in your area. Get a free consultation to find out which is the most suitable.
- Statute of Limitations – This is something some people fail to take into consideration. Statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice vary from state to state. If you feel that you are a victim of malpractice, you should find out about your rights as quickly as possible. Once the statute of limitations has run out, you will no longer have the opportunity to file a claim.
A wrongful death claim is filed when the victim’s death was caused by the direct actions or negligence of another party. As with any civil lawsuit, a wrongful death case will often end with a settlement agreement or a compensation award. When a large sum of money is awarded, the amount is sometimes paid out as a structured settlement.
It is essential plaintiffs carefully review the structured settlement agreement before they sign, so they can be sure their wishes are carried out and they will know exactly what to expect from the process.
When a wrongful death occurs, the surviving family members, such as the spouse and children, often find it difficult to make ends meet after the loss of income occurs. Choosing a structured settlement means payments will be coming in for years and these can be used to maintain the standard of living the family was accustomed to before the death of their loved one occurred. The awarded settlement payments can even be passed on to an heir, should the plaintiff become deceased before their final payment is paid out.
Structured settlements cannot bring back a deceased loved one, but they can offer financial stability and peace of mind. If given the option of choosing a lump sum payment or a structured settlement, plaintiffs need to make sure they carefully review their options, so they can make the best choice for their needs.
Individuals who are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit should speak with their lawyer and learn about their options, should they be awarded a settlement or win their lawsuit. This type of settlement can be customized to meet the needs of the plaintiff.