Posted on: 29 January 2016Share
If you're injured due to negligence or fault of another party, there's a good chance that you can file a personal injury claim. When filing a claim with a personal injury attorney, there's a 98% chance that your attorney will be able to get the case settled without having to go to court. At which point, you will have the option of negotiating the settlement amount and how the settlement will be paid. If you're a young adult, you're likely going to benefit from opting for a structured settlement rather than a lump sum payment. Your attorney will need to draft up an agreement regarding the terms of the settlement. Here are 3 features you should request to be included in the final contract — especially if you're a young adult.
Inflation Protection with Variable Payments
Due to inflation, a dollar today simply won't be worth as much as a dollar 10 years from now. In fact, nowadays, a dollar has lost 90% of its value in comparison to the early 1900s. With a structured settlement, you want to make sure that the amount you will be receiving in total will be adjusted with inflation in mind, so the payments should be varied. If you opt for fixed payments, you'll find your purchasing power diminishing each year. There are two ways that your settlement can be adjusted for inflation. You can either request for:
- indexed-variable payments, which are automatically adjusted each year based on a specified index like the Consumer Price Index (CPI); or,
- indexed-fixed payments, which are automatically adjusted each year based on a specified percentage or dollar amount.
The goal is to make sure that each payment will have the same purchasing power throughout your entire life.
Benefit Distribution Periods Past Life Expectancy
Another point to consider if you are a young adult is that there is a chance that you will be starting a family soon or sometime in your life. If this happens, you should make sure that your structured settlement will continue to pay the settled amount until the maximum is reached even if you pass on. Basically, if the full amount of the settlement is not paid out after you pass on, the payments will be sent to one or more beneficiary. You will have to specify the beneficiary in the contract, as well as the benefit distribution period, as this is usually set in stone once the contract is signed.
Depending on your case, this is a feature that your attorney will have to negotiate with the other party. The other party will need to agree on the amount of payments that will be made after your death, as well as who the beneficiary can be based on his or her relationship to you.
Provisions for Lump Sum or Larger Payment When Certain Requirements Are Met
Although getting a set payment each month or year may be beneficial, there are many complications or issues that may arise in your life as a young adult, and there's a good chance that you may run into financial problems. At which point, you might want to access the structured settlement and take out a larger lump sum. As an example, if you happen to want to get further post-secondary education in the future, you might want to dip into the structured settlement rather than apply for a student loan.
To do this, you will need your attorney to include a provision where you are entitled to requesting a lump sum payment or a larger payment in the event certain requirements are met. For example, in the case of furthering your education, you might have to provide proof of enrollment and also documents showing the tuition amount.
While structured settlements are beneficial in the sense that they can protect you financially, you are also quite limited to the amount of payments and the amount of money in each payment you will receive. Make sure you don't put yourself in a difficult position by going over all of the terms, conditions and provisions in the settlement contract with your personal injury attorney. After all, there's a good chance that you'll be counting on these payments in the future.
For more information and advice, talk with a personal injury attorney, such as those at Stapleton Law Offices.