How much child support will be taken from your personal injury settlement will depend on a few factors, including whether you’re behind on your payments, how much you owe, whether you receive a large settlement, and your state laws.
After an injury or an accident, your child support obligations may be the last thing on your mind. Especially as medical bills pile up and you lose income from missing work. But if you do miss your payments, bear in mind that the state can deduct your child support arrears from your personal injury award.
How much can child support take from settlement funds for personal injuries? Let’s find out.
Understanding Personal Injury Settlements
A personal injury settlement is an agreement that states that an injured person has agreed to accept money from the person(s) who caused them harm. Entering such a contract means that the injured person releases or absolves the other party from any liability incurred from the circumstances that led to the injury.
The most common personal injury claims are for:
- Car and truck accidents
- Slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Wrongful deaths and wrongful accidents
- Production injuries
- Defective products
- Premises liabilities
What is the Average Amount You Can Receive For a Personal Injury Settlement?
The average amount you can receive from a personal injury case can range anywhere between $3,000 to $25,000. What counts as fair compensation will depend on things like the severity of your injuries, your medical expenses, the pain and suffering the injury caused you, and income lost due to absence or loss of employment.
How Long Does It Take to Agree to a Settlement?
It can take anywhere from a few months to several years for personal injury cases to settle. Sometimes, cases can take multiple exchanges and negotiations between the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney and the defendant’s lawyers. If cases go to court, they can take several years to settle.
Here are some of the main reasons why your personal injury claim could take a while to settle:
- You have a complex case that requires a thorough investigation
- Your case involves a large sum of money
- You take longer than expected to recover and need several follow-up procedures
- Your or the defendant’s insurance company is not particularly cooperative
Understanding Child Support
Child support is a financial obligation that a non-custodial parent must take on to assist the custodial parent in child-rearing. Child support helps cover necessities such as food, clothing, health care, shelter, and education. This fixed sum is paid to the child’s custodian on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis until the child turns 18.
How is Child Support Calculated?
The main factor judges consider in child support cases is how much the parents earn. Sometimes, courts consider both parents’ income, while others only look into the non-custodial parent’s income. Other factors that judges tend to consider include:
- The amount of time that each parent spends with their child
- Any child support or alimony that both the custodial and non-custodial parent receives from a previous marriage
- Whether the parent pays for the child’s health insurance (and how much they’re paying)
- Whether the parent pays for daycare services (and how much)
- The age of the child
- Whether the parent/s are residing with a new partner or spouse who takes part in paying for household expenses
How Does a Personal Injury Settlement Affect Child Support?
A personal injury settlement can be affected by child support obligations when the non-custodial parent fails to make their payments or has a child support lien against them. In other words, if you are in child support arrears, your missed child support payments will be deducted from your personal injury award.
If you’ll use your personal injury settlement to compensate for lost wages, your settlement may be considered as income. In this case, the court will recalculate how much child support you must pay out. This also happens when the settlement award is large enough to raise your income dramatically. The court may raise the required amount to be paid to reflect the income change. This is common in cases where the injured party incurs catastrophic injuries or immensely high medical bills.
When Will My Personal Injury Settlements Be Used to Pay Back Child Support?
Your personal injury settlements will only be garnished for child support if you are behind on your payments. If you are up-to-date on your child support payments, there is no reason for the court to garnish your compensation for personal injuries.
It should be noted that your personal injury award will always cover your medical bills first. Only after your bills are settled will the court order you to pay child support arrears from your personal injury claim.
Some states allow you to only pay a portion of your arrrears, while others require you to pay all of your unpaid child support before you can receive your settlement. Be sure to check the laws of the state where you’re obligated to make child support payments.
What to Consider Before Accepting a Personal Injury Compensation Offer
After an accident, the last thing you want to deal with is a lengthy and complicated legal battle. If the other party is willing to offer you a fair settlement, it may be tempting to accept their offer and move on. However, there are a few things you should consider before accepting any personal injury compensation offer.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Don’t just think about the immediate effect of your injuries, such as your medical bills or your lost income. Consider how your injuries will impact your ability to gain employment and whether you will need to spend on things like personal mobility devices and home modifications in the future. Some people may also need additional care or treatment to relieve symptoms or address chronic issues resulting from the injury.
You will only be able to determine all of these things once you have achieved your maximum medical improvement or MMI. Once you’ve reached this point and your doctor has determined that you can halt treatment, that is the only time that you should consider accepting a settlement offer.
The Non-Economic Damages Caused By Your Accident
Non-economic damages refer to non-monetary losses such as emotional distress, loss of community or companionship, lowered quality of life, reputational damage, pain and suffering, etc. Despite being called “non-economic” damages, these effects can impact your ability to earn a wage or incur additional expenses in the form of therapy or medication.
Whether You Can Get A Better Offer
Settling a personal injury case is often the best option for both parties because it can be difficult and time-consuming to hash things out in court. But there will be times when you should take a chance and take your case to court, especially if you believe you deserve to be awarded a higher compensation.
Now, if your lawyers think you have a chance at convincing a jury you should be compensated more for your injuries, you have to prepare for a potentially lengthy trial. This is why it’s important not only to hire a good team of lawyers but to have something to fall back on financially during this time.
Get Pre-Settlement Funding Today With Tribeca Lawsuit Loans
Need help covering your medical bills, lost wages, mortgage, and even your child support payments while you wait for your settlement? Apply for settlement loans with Tribeca Lawsuit Loans! Applications are easy and free – just call us at (866) 388-2288 or visit our Apply Now page to get started.
With Tribeca Lawsuit Loans, you are under no obligation to pay your loan until you win your settlement amount. Get the peace of mind that you can take care of your affairs while amid your lawsuit.