Are you thinking of accepting a structured settlement of your auto accident claim? Learn how settlements  work and what they must have under Washington law.

What Is a Structured Settlement in an Auto Crash Case?

Most car accident claims will settle without the need to go to trial, and victims accept their settlement proceeds in a lump sum settlement. However, the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver can also be received in a structured settlement. It is important to understand how  they work so that you can make an informed decision about whether one is right for you.

How Structured Settlements Work When Settling a Car Collision Claim

A structured settlement is the payment of compensation to an accident victim over a number of years. They are often utilized when the person suffers a catastrophic injury or the victim is a minor. Many terms can be negotiated to meet a person’s specific needs. These include:

  • Amount of payments
  • Frequency of payments
  • Length of the payment plan
  • Whether there is any lump sum payment either at the beginning or other date in the future
  • Whether payments end upon the victim’s death or continue as payments to heirs

Requirements for Structured Settlements Under Washington State Law

In Washington State, structured settlement agreements must meet certain requirements of the Structured Settlement Protection Act, which are designed to protect accident victims. Under this law, judges must review all proposed structured settlements. The agreements must contain these provisions:

  • Schedule of payments, including their dates and amounts
  • Value of each payment, which is referred to as “discounted present value”
  • Amount of any initial lump sum payments of cash
  • Any expenses associated with an annuity
  • Any penalties or liquidated damages for breach of the structured settlement by the victim
  • Statement of the victim’s right to cancel the agreement within three business days of the date of the signed agreement

Is a structured settlement right for you? You would need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine this and to design your agreement to meet current needs, which can include paying medical bills and catching up on monthly expenses. It should also address future medical treatments, college tuition, and home modifications that you may need in the future.

Our skilled lawyers are here to explain how a structured settlement would work in your situation and how we can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.