Personal injury lawsuits, including motor vehicle accidents, can be resolved in a variety of ways. One option that some people opt to accept is a settlement, which can be offered as a structured settlement, a lump sum payment, or a combination of both, simply because they need money right now to cover bills and living expenses that have racked up since the debilitating crash. There are several benefits and drawbacks of a personal injury settlement that you should consider before you agree or decline the settlement.
How does a settlement affect the time it takes to reach a resolution?
Typically, a settlement can get you the money you need faster than if you go through a trial. Because this is an agreement between you and the other party, you don't have to wait for a jury to award the settlement. This is especially important if you have been off work because of the injury and need money to pay your bills as soon as possible. Getting the money as fast as possible might also help you to get the medical care that you need to help you recover from the debilitating injuries that you suffered when the other driver slammed into you and changed the course of your life.
Is there a difference in the settlement amount?
In most cases, settlements are going to be for a lower monetary amount than what you might be awarded at a trial. While this may sound like a huge downfall, it might not be. The cost associated with a settlement is often much lower, which means that you won't have to fork over as much money toward the cost. Since you won't have to wait on a trial (and possible appeal of the verdict), your bills won't accrue as much interest. In the case of a structured settlement, the regularly occurring payments aren't usually taxable, so that's a huge bonus.
What are the conditions of a settlement?
Settlements of all sorts have some specific conditions attached to them. It is crucial that you understand these because they can affect your rights after you agree to the settlement. Most settlement cases include provisions that state the money in the settlement is all you can receive in connection with the incident. This means that you can't come back later and ask for more money.
A nondisclosure agreement is usually present, so you wouldn't be able to discuss the terms of the settlement. It is possible that the defendant wouldn't have to acknowledge liability for the accident, so if you want that party to be held liable in public, a settlement might not be the right option for your case.