If you are filing a personal injury claim against someone whose negligence resulted in you being injured, there is a lot of information to understand. You would be wise to work with a skilled attorney who can answer all of your questions regarding the specifics of your case. In the mean time, the following information about damages and structured settlements will get you started in the right direction. Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm to learn more about how this information may apply to your own unique case. The initial consultation is free, and we are happy to help.
Different Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims
To begin with, we’ll explain the three different types of damages that you can receive.
1) Economic Damages
Economic damages include all of the actual expenses that you have accumulated through the course of treating and recovering from your injuries. This includes all of your medical treatment expenses, such as hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, rehabilitation, emergency room visits, etc. You can establish this by maintaining records of your treatment and bills. Economic damages also include your future medical expenses, which can be calculated based on information from your medical care providers. Further, you can be compensated for any time off work and for lost future earning potential, both falling under economic damages.
2) Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages include any compensation that you seek for things that are not identified as actual economic losses. For example, pain and suffering is the most common non-economic damage that people pursue in personal injury claims in North and South Carolina. This is a more difficult category of damages to establish, though your attorney can calculate an amount based on similar claims and the severity of your injuries.
3) Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are entirely separate from economic and non-economic damages. These damages are not related to your losses, but are intended to punish the defendant for the negligence that resulted in your injuries. This is not awarded in all personal injury claims. It is only factored into claims where the person responsible for your injuries acted in a way that was excessively and outlandishly negligent or willful.
Lump Sum Settlements and Structured Settlements
One way to receive a personal injury settlement is in a lump sum payment, meaning that you receive all of your recovery at once. Another option is to receive a structured settlement. Most people are familiar with the concept of a lump sum settlement, though many don’t understand how structured settlements work. Basically, a structured settlement is paid over a period of time in multiple payments, instead of all at once in a lump sum. You will typically receive a portion of your damages right away, and then the rest will be paid in a structured settlement form. These are usually payments made by an insurance company with a specialization in annuities. The purpose of annuities is to offer a stable income over time.
Your attorney will be able to discuss the pros and cons of a structured settlement as it relates to your unique personal injury claim. Your attorney will also be able to negotiate several aspects of the structured settlement arrangement, including how much you receive immediately and how much is included in the structured settlement payments.
Your attorney can also negotiate the frequency with which you will receive payments, how much each payment will be, and the timeline through which the settlement payments will be made. There are also different options for how the structured settlement will be handled if you happen to pass away before you receive the full amount of your settlement.
It can be complicated to determine the specifics of a structured settlement arrangement. Your attorney will likely work with a professional accountant or an economist to calculate the amount of your settlement in terms of immediate payment and structured payments.
The most important thing that you can do when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim is to consult with an experienced Rock Hill personal injury attorney and ask any questions that you may have regarding the different types of damages that you can be awarded and the pros and cons of lump sum payments and structured settlements. For a free consultation of your North Carolina or South Carolina personal injury claim, contact Elrod Pope Law Firm, today.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.