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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses


sign that reads structured settlements

Structured settlements can be very good things – under the right circumstances. It’s important to understand how structured settlements get “structured” in the first place.

Many civil cases, including personal injury lawsuits, end up with the injured party agreeing to receive regular payments over a period of time (or sometimes for the rest of his or her life) in place of receiving a large amount of money in one lump sum.

Why is that a positive? Well, suppose the plaintiff has suffered life-changing physical and even mental damage due to the negligence of another party (a reckless driver, a company that did not properly service its equipment, a medical professional who made an avoidable error in diagnosis or procedure, a defective product irresponsibly sold by a manufacturer). The case, like many, many personal injury cases, never makes it to a jury trial in court.  Instead, the insurance company of the defendant makes the offer to the injured party to pay a sum of money in cash.

By way of lending perspective to the discussion about structured settlements, according to The Law Dictionary, only 4-5% of personal injury cases in the United States ever go to trial; the vast majority of cases are settled. Another rather startling statistic is that 90% of cases that DO make it to court – end up losing!

So, yes, for individual plaintiffs, settlements can be a good thing. On the other hand, think about this: an injured individual with no experience managing large sums of money is certainly not in good enough physical or psychological shape to begin managing money now. With a structured settlement, a regular monthly income would be set up (typically through the purchase of an insurance company annuity), so that the plaintiff doesn’t need to shoulder the responsibility of choosing investments or managing large-scale finances.

How does this structured settlement arrangement actually work?  The defendant’s insurance company, rather than paying out a large sum of money today, agrees to make guaranteed. periodic payments to the injured party. Obviously there are complex mathematical calculations to be made, and one of the aspects of our work at Ramey & Hailey involves negotiating the most advantageous terms for settlements on behalf of our injured clients.

In fact, accepting a series of payments rather than a lump sum is a very, very serious matter and there are many important factors to be weighed carefully:

  • Under current tax law, there are certain parts of any settlement that can be taxed, such as any punitive damages and damages paid for purely emotional damage that do not stem from physical injury. Those tax considerations need to be factored into the decision to accept the settlement.
  • There is a real danger that no matter how many expert calculations and predictions are done, inflation and unexpected costs will mean the monthly money might not be enough to cover actual expenses.
  • If, at some point in the future, medical science discovers a miracle cure, there is the fear that the plaintiff will not have access to a large enough sum of money to pay for the treatment.
  • If an individual is receiving Medicare payments, it is important that the income from a structured settlement payout not affect those payments.
  • The payments from a structured settlement will be coming from a life insurance company and will be tied to the financial stability of the insurer.

Even before discussing all these possibilities, choices, and pros and cons with each client, as personal injury attorneys, we have an enormous amount of work to do on their behalf in terms of “discovery”. That process will include:

  • taking depositions
  • interviewing witnesses
  • consulting with medical professionals
  • consulting with financial and tax professionals
  • estimating and calculating costs that occur while waiting to go to trial
  • negotiating the terms of the settlement

Many personal injury cases culminate in a settlement, and many settlements take the “structured” form of periodic payments. As Robert W. Wood observes, “Structured settlements are tax-efficient and have spendthrift advantages too…They aren’t for everyone, “Woods cautions, you shouldn’t structure every nickel you receive. Once they are set up, they generally can’t be changed.”

At Ramey & Hailey, our view is that, like all tools, structured settlements can be good things – under the right circumstances!

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