When and How Do You Get Paid for Future Lost Income?
Suffering an injury because of someone else’s negligence – whether it is in a car accident, slipping at a grocery store, or being hit by falling debris walking by a construction site – is an experience that most people would gladly avoid but still likely recover from if such an incident happened. However, there are those catastrophic accidents that permanently alter a person’s life and leave them with injuries so serious they are unable to live as before. In these unfortunate situations, it is possible to receive damage awards following a personal injury trial that represent the wages the person will never earn and/or the ongoing the medical care he/she will need as a result of the injuries.
A man in Tampa, hit by a city truck in 1996, suffered traumatic injuries that left him with colostomy bag for life and very limited use of his legs. He is fighting the city to collect a jury award of almost $18 million that includes compensation for future lost wages and medical expenses. While it would be reasonable to think large damage awards are paid all at once, that is not always the case. Florida law governs the payment of large awards for negligence claims that offers options for how they may be paid. Accident victims with significant injuries may benefit from knowing this information so they can make financial plans going forward. Consequently, an overview of this law will follow below.
What Are The Payment Options?
In any negligence case, if an award of more than $250,000 is given for future economic damages, there are two options for how payment can be made:
- the defendant can pay all damages in one lump sum but reduce the amount for economic damages to its present value; or
- at the request of either party, the court can order, unless it determines an injustice would result, future damages be paid in full or in part in spaced-out payments.
The court sets the duration of the payment plan, and it will not be extended if the injured party lives past the termination date. However, if the injured party dies before the payment plan ends, any remaining unpaid amount is given to the injured party’s estate in one payment.
What Happens If The Payments Are Not Made?
If, after periodic payments are ordered, the defendant consistently fails to pay them on time, the court can order either of the following measures to compel compliance:
- order all remaining unpaid damages be paid within 30 days; or
- order the defendant to pay any additional damages caused by its failure to make regular payments of the jury award, including court costs and lawyer fees.
If there is a question about the financial solvency of the defendant that could threaten its ability to make the required payments, the court can order the defendant to:
- post security equal in value to the jury award;
- pay the award in a lump sum payment within 30 days; or
- put money in a trust naming the injured party as the beneficiary.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffered a serious, life-changing injury in an accident, you may be able to collect damages for future lost wages and medical costs. Talking with a personal injury lawyer will give you the opportunity to learn about the process for personal injury lawsuits and what compensation you may recover if your case is successful. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado represents clients seriously injured in a variety of accidents and can help you recover for your injuries. Contact us to schedule a consultation.