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Confidentiality Agreements and Other Aspects of Personal Injury Settlements

The California statutes dealing with negligence provide that a person who fails to exercise ordinary care, as a result, injures another, is responsible for all injuries and harm caused.  Unfortunately, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that many people breach this legal duty far too often. 

Almost 40 million people visit a physician’s office every year for accidental injuries, while another 24.5 million victims need ER treatment. If you were hurt, you could seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault party, possibly by agreement with an insurer. Compensation can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

There are numerous benefits to settling your claim out of court since the process is faster and less costly than litigation. However, there are still requirements when it comes to the paperwork. You must sign a written document, which may include confidentiality provisions and other confusing clauses.

To protect your rights, consider working with Sherman Oaks personal injury attorneys who can handle confidentiality agreements and other aspects of settlements. There are some important sections to note:

Confidentiality Provisions

As part of the settlement arrangement, an insurer may want you to keep the terms and conditions under wraps through a confidentiality agreement. Insurers have an interest in making sure these financial issues remain private, as other victims might take advantage of the situation when they know how much an insurance company has paid out on a particular claim.

Settlement Amount

Of course, you will know the amount of compensation before you get to the point of signing an agreement. However, the way your settlement or award is classified will have tax implications:

  • All compensation you receive for physical injuries, and pain and suffering is tax-free, so you do not pay an income. tax on such damages as pain and suffering, medical costs, lost and future income, and others.
  • Any money classified as punitive damages is taxable.

 As such, you will want to ensure your settlement agreement breaks down the amounts you receive into categories that will minimize your tax burden.

How Payments are Structured

For high-value settlement amounts, your monetary damages will likely come in the form of an installment arrangement or structured settlement. The funds will be distributed to you for months or years, which benefits you because it is a reliable income that supports your future needs. In some cases, you can request a lump sum payment.

 Release of Future Rights

One very important section of a California personal injury settlement is the release, also known as a settlement agreement, in which you agree that the matter is closed. A release extinguishes your rights to any future action, so you cannot obtain more than stated in the binding release.

A settlement agreement is typically broader and contains more terms than a release.  Because of the serious implications of releasing your claims, you should consult with a lawyer before signing.

Discuss Your Rights with a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, we aspire to review your circumstances and discuss how to proceed in dealings with an insurance company. For more information on how to go about the insurance settlement process, please set up a free consultation by calling 213-985-1120 or visit our website.

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