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Who Should You Pay First After Receiving Compensation for Your Personal Injury Claim?

It can take a long time to settle personal injury claims and lawsuits, but once they’re settled, victims are typically very eager to get their settlement payment in their hands. This can cause a bit of impatience. However, settlement checks aren’t paid to the victim immediately after the settlement of the case. Legal fees, liens, and more must be paid first before the victim receives their portion of the settlement. 

It can be a confusing process, and because of this, it’s important you have an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer from Baker Legal Team by your side who can help you navigate this process and ensure all parties are paid properly, including you.  

Types of Settlements for a Personal Injury Claim

After a settlement, there are two main forms of compensation — structured settlements and lump sum settlements.

Structured Settlements 

With structured settlements, you receive installments of money over a certain time period that’s agreed upon. Some individuals prefer structured settlement payments since they offer them more control of their payments. You can receive your money in different intervals of your choice, such as annually, quarterly, or monthly. How much money you receive in each installment can also be different. Sometimes, you may notice an increase in your payments over time due to inflation.

Structured settlements may be particularly beneficial if you’re undergoing medical treatment over a lengthy time period and your medical expenses can become more expensive as time passes. You may also notice a reduction in your payments. For instance, you may receive a larger initial settlement installment to cover things like:

  • Legal fees
  • Medical bills
  • Mechanical repairs
  • Other expenditures

Then, you’ll begin receiving smaller installments afterward. Either way, structured settlements are very flexible in when and how the money is paid. However, once it’s determined what the structure of the settlement will be, it can’t be changed, so it’s important to have your lawyer or a financial advisor examine the structure and ensure the right selection is made.

Lump-Sum Settlements 

These are the second form of compensation. With lump-sum settlements, you’ll receive the whole sum of your settlement in one single installment. Lump-sum settlements are ideal for those who want to invest the compensation they receive since it’s likely to be substantial. 

There is a downside to lump-sum settlements, which is that there are financial management abilities required. Certain individuals are not very good with money and they end up spending it all frivolously. If you have financial understanding and strong money management abilities, you can easily multiply your settlement.

Who Gets Paid First After You Receive Compensation for Your Personal Injury Claim? 

Your Florida personal injury attorney will first work on your behalf to negotiate medical bills and other related debts to your injuries. It’s extremely common for injured individuals to owe various third parties, such as medical providers, portions of their settlement. These debts, which are often referred to as “liens,” can be negotiated by your lawyer and reduced.

Liens against your settlement can often come from:

  • Medical Providers: Generally, health insurance doesn’t cover all medical costs, and sometimes severe injuries and/or long-term treatment can accumulate a lot of costs that add up quickly.
  • Group Health Insurance Carriers: If your medical bills were paid by your insurance provider and your insurance provider files a valid lien, you could end up having to reimburse them for the money they paid towards your expenses. Your lawyer will determine if your insurance provider needs to be reimbursed.
  • Government Health Insurance Programs: In some cases, the state can pursue compensation. For instance, if your medical bills were paid through Medicaid, they may also try to collect from your settlement. 

Once there is an agreement on all liens, your personal injury lawyer will distribute portions of your settlement funds to pay the lienholders. This could cause some wait time before you receive any money since there can be a substantial amount of back and forth in the lien process.

Now, You Get Paid 

Once all expenses, liens, and legal fees are paid and finalized, you’ll then meet with your personal injury lawyer to finalize your case. They’ll provide you with a settlement packet that contains a copy of all paid expenses and your release. You’ll then go over all the paperwork with your lawyer and sign the final paperwork.

Once you do that, your check will be in the mail. You can complete this process either in person or remotely. Your compensation can come in either paper form or direct deposit. 

Contact Baker Legal Team Today to Speak About Your Settlement Case 

Even though most of the work your personal injury lawyer will do is to build you a strong case and negotiate terms in your favor, their job isn’t done until you receive compensation.

At Baker Legal Team, our board-certified personal injury attorneys approach every case with compassion and commitment assisting with the small details and big goals. Even after our legal team has secured your fair settlement, we’ll continue to work on your behalf until the money is in your hands. Call our office today at (561) 320-0000 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.

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