Structured settlements are a series of periodic payments that can have numerous benefits for persons affected by wrongful death or personal injuries. Structured settlements may be negotiated pre-trial and can facilitate settlement. Structures may also be tailored to an individual claimants’ needs and may be set up to provide payments over a certain number of years, the lifetime of the claimant or even the joint lifetime of the claimant and his or her spouse.
Another benefit to utilizing structured settlements is that they can provide a stream of payments to claimants that are tax-free at both the federal and state level. A structured settlement may be only one component of a viable settlement solution. It some cases, it may be preferable to negotiate a lump sum payment in addition to a structure. In any case, the recommended size of the structured settlement may depend on a realistic assessment of how much the claimant will require to meet monthly expenses throughout his or her lifetime.
Be wary of “reverse” structures or companies that offer to “buy” your settlement. As stated, payments received in a structured settlement are generally tax-free and by selling your structure in return for a lump sum you will likely lose any tax benefit, thus reducing the settlement’s value. Additionally, the companies that buy settlements tend to be predatory and make money by underpaying you for the actual value of your settlement.
If you or your loved one has questions concerning your personal injury or wrongful death claim, call the law offices of Jinks, Crow & Dickson for your free consultation.