Can You Settle Your Georgia Personal Injury Case In Installments?
If you have been injured in an automobile accident where you were not in fault and are pursuing a personal injury claim, you might wonder about whether you can receive compensation “as you go” for all the harms and losses you are continually incurring.
As has been discussed in other blog posts, there are ways to help offset your losses through various sources that do not involve settling your personal injury case (e.g., medical payments coverage, cash advances and using health insurance to reduce the cost of your medical bills).
But what about partially settling your personal injury case? Can that be done? The answer is yes, in certain circumstances.
In Georgia, you can settle your personal injury case subject to a “limited liability release.” What this essentially means is you agree to release the at fault party (the tortfeasor), but only to the extent of his/her particular liability policies which you are receiving settlement funds. The release should be drafted in such a way that you can still pursue any other insurance policies that could compensate you for your additional losses.
The two most important things to know about this kind of release is (1) it is not a general release and (2) the settlement amount must be for the full amount of the liability limits.
A general release would in effect end the case in totality. The release must be drafted correctly in order to enable your case to continue. An experienced attorney will know how to draft this properly. The reason the settlement must be for the full limits of the liability policy that you would be releasing is because the statutory pre-requisite for moving onto the next layer of insurance coverage is that you exhausted the liability policy in front of it and were still not fully compensated.
In other words, if your case is only worth $35,000 and the liability policy is for $50,000, you cannot execute a limited liability release because your case is not worth the full limits of the liability policy. Whereas your $35,000 case could execute a limited liability release with a $25,000 limit policy, assuming the liability carrier agreed to its tender.
Often times I have settled cases with limited liability releases. This has enabled the client to receive ongoing compensation while still pursuing their case to its ultimate full value.