Personal Injury Law (Accidents/Slip & Fall)/Personal injury funds


QUESTION: I have a law suit between 2 insurance companies.  The first one settled in arbitration.  We have been told however, that we can not get any money out of that win until we win the case against the insurance company.  If this is true why?  If not how do we approach this issue can you quote the law.

second question if permitted:  does money received from a personal injury case have to be put in an annuity?  Thanks for your help.

ANSWER: Jozn Joan Joan: You haven't given me nearly enough information to understand what is going on and to provide you with any advice. Why are two insurance companies involved. Please explain. Did you sue one and get the policy limit in a car accident case and are not proceeding against your own company for underinsured motorist coverage damages?  Or, are there two different parties that caused damage or injury to you and therefore two different insurance companies?  Come on. I can't possibly help unless you tell me what the claims are about. What happened?

Second question: Personal injury laws are very similar from State to State but can be different in some respects also. I don't know what State you are in.  Generally, no, personal injury proceeds are not required to go anywhere other than where the plaintiff/injured party wants them to.  Usually, after paying off medical bills and the lawyer, they go right into the plaintiff's pocket. If the injured party is a minor, then the money must be held in Trust or placed into an annuity, yes.  So, is the injured person a child??  Tell me what happened is some detail and I can give you a more useful answer.  What happened, who was hurt, how badly, what was his/her age, does the injured party have a lawyer?  If so, just ask that lawyer.

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QUESTION: sorry thought I had to limit the information.  I was in a car accident a few years ago. The woman cut us off on the freeway and we flipped over.  The woman who hit us was driving a rental car with full insurance (I live in Las Vegas).  I ended up having a knee replacement,I was 52, one of my passengers had a broken neck (not paralyzed)She was 54 and one had minimal injury she was 48. The person with the broken neck and I have life plans included in our case.  We have reached an agreement with my insurance company through arbitration. We are still waiting for the rental car company (one of the top 3 companies)to either arbitrate or we have a court date in January.  We have been advised that once the first insurance company sends the check we will pay off dr. visits, professional opinions etc...however we have been advised that the rest of the money remains in the bank until we settle with the rental car company. This confuses me. The only thing I can think of is the attorney is waiting to see how much we get before releasing the funds to ensure his fee is covered.  Then we have been told (we are both on disability from prior incidents)that we both have to do a set aside and that we would have to put the money in an annuity. I understand the set aside but I would prefer to have my finance advisor handling the investment with me.  Why would we need an annuity.  I know one reason is the practice is aligned with a broker but that would be the last person I would use. So that was my second question.  Once my insurance company sends the check does it have to stay in the bank until we settle with the rental car company?
When we get the money does it include any interest earned? Must we put the remainder of the settlement in any special account?  Are there any laws that we can use to discuss with the attorney so he sees I did my homework.  Thank you so guys are awesome.

Sorry but I have no idea why an annuity is involved. You are an adult and I presume, competent in a legal sense. Therefore, you should have 100% control over how the money is disbursed, to whom, and in what form. I don't understand why you don't just get a check after expenses are paid.  And if money from a partial settlement is already received, the lawyer can take the fee he has earned based on that amount and if more funds come later, take his 1/3 share again from that amount.  Forgive me, but you don't sound very sophisticated in dealing with these matters or at least don't have a good grasp of what is going on. You should have no hesitation to make that lawyer of yours explain everything.  Why is there going to be an annuity established.Oh wait, I get it now Joan.  You are on disability right?  The disability is "means tested" right? In other words if you had lots of money you would be disqualified from receiving the disability payments....I presume SSI.  OK, now I get it.  They are setting up what sounds like a SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST that places the money in a Trust such that you don't have immediate access to the money.  In this way, you are not disqualified from receiving the SSI.  Is that what is going on?  How much money is involved.  If it is a large amount, you should make the choice whether you want the money in cash and discontinue the SSI or do as they are get no cash but continue with the SSI.  This now gets complicated and I couldn't advise on what choice you should make without knowing a lot about your disability, living situation, etc. Understand, if you get any cash money you have to report it to SSI. So ask the lawyer whether you will have access to any of the settlement in order to improve your living situation, go on a cruise, buy a car, rent a nicer apartment etc. If he says "no", then depending on the amount involved, you might say you want the cash money, no annuity, report it to SSI and if disqualified because of the money, then reapply in the future when the money runs out.  Hope this helps.

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Glenn A. Dorfman


Thirty-two years experience in personal injury, medical malpractice, medical product liability law and class actions. Qualified to answer all questions regarding injuries and the law, except for worker`s compensation. Actively involved and fully experienced in litigation regarding recalled hip implants as well as the Mirena IUD.


Hundreds of satisfied clients in previous litigation

California State Bar Association in good standing since 1976. Federal District Court

Jurisx Doctor degree 1976

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