One reason many defendants opt to settle personal injury cases rather than go to court is to keep the information discussed in the case out of the public eye. Because of this, you will likely be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before the other party will cut you a check for the settlement amount. However, here are two important issues you need to work out with the defendant before you sign the confidentiality agreement:
Permission to Disclose to Select Professionals
In many cases, confidentiality agreements are too broad, prohibiting defendants from speaking about the case to anyone in their social networks, the media, and sometimes even the government. Aside from possibly being illegal in some instances, this overbroad requirement to remain quiet about all aspects of the case can make it difficult for you to obtain assistance with important issues in your life.
For instance, your accountant may need to know about some specifics of the case to assist you with filing the proper tax forms. If you're prohibited from discussing anything about the case with anyone, you may not be able to provide your accountant with the information he or she needs to do the job you pay the person to do.
Therefore, it's important to thoroughly read the non-disclosure agreement and, at a minimum, ensure there is an exception for professionals who may need to know details about the case, such as attorneys and healthcare providers. Most professionals keep their clients' business confidential anyway, so the defendant shouldn't have a problem with exempting them.
Tax Implications of the Pay Off
Another thing you should discuss is any tax implications that may develop as a result of the non-disclosure agreement. Only items directly connected to your injury (e.g. medical bills) are not taxable. However, benefits you receive as a result of your case but not directly connected to your injury are taxable. Generally, this means money you receive for pain and suffering or emotional distress. You'll also be required to pay tax on any money you receive to adhere to the non-disclosure agreement, though.
Thus, if you want to avoid paying taxes on this money, you need to ask the other party to either cover the expected tax amount or add the amount into another non-taxable category. It's essential you consult with an attorney about this, though, to avoid making a mistake that may lead to legal or tax problems.
For more information about signing a non-disclosure agreement or help with a personal injury case, contact a lawyer like those at http://www.injuryattorneylafayettein.com/.