If you go to court because an entity or individual injured you, you might find that it is a long and arduous process. You’re probably not going to enjoy it very much. You might have to testify about what happened. Your lawyer may have to call eyewitnesses to try and prove what you say happened.
If you get through it and the jury finds in your favor, it can seem like a huge win, or maybe just a Pyrrhic victory. You might be so exhausted that you’re just glad it’s over. Before too long, though, it’s going to sink in: you won, and you have some money coming your way.
Now, you must decide what to do with it. You could spend it solely on practical things, or you could get a little more frivolous. Maybe you’ll even do a bit of both.
Let’s look at some possibilities as to what you can do with that money.
You Must Pay Your Lawyer
The first thing you’ll have to do, before anything else, is to pay your personal injury attorney. They won the lawsuit for you, so you probably won’t feel bad about handing over the cash. You probably agreed to pay them:
- On a contingency basis
- As much as 40% if they won the lawsuit for you
That might seem like a lot, but remember that you couldn’t have done it without them. You don’t know the law well enough to argue on your behalf. Once you hand that money over, you can see what’s left and assess what your next move should be.
You Can Use It to Pay Off Your Medical Bills
The next thing it probably makes sense to do is to pay off any outstanding medical bills you have. This was a personal injury trial, and you might still feel whatever it was the guilty individual or entity did to you. You might have:
- Hospital bills
- Therapy bills
- Physical therapy bills
You may have to pay the hospital that performed your surgery if you needed any. If you suffered depression after the injury, maybe you had to see a therapist. You’ll need to pay them too. Perhaps you needed to do some physical therapy to help you recover, and they’ll want their money.
Maybe your insurance handled some of this already, but probably not all of it unless you have an excellent policy. It’s more than likely you have to come up with some copays, and you’ll need to put some of your remaining winnings toward them.
You Can Use It to Pay for Your Utilities and Food as You Recover
Depending on your injury, maybe you have to take time off from your job while you get better. Perhaps you can work from home, but you can’t do that with all professions.
You might also collect worker’s compensation while you’re on the shelf. However, it might not be enough to cover things like utility bills, food, rent payments, mortgage payments, etc.
This might not feel like the most exciting thing to do with that money, but you should handle practical matters before doing anything fun or irresponsible.
You Can Open a Savings Account
If you still have cash left over at this point, you might decide to open up a high-yield savings account or put your remaining money in there if you already have one. You can have a little nest egg that will probably come in handy at some point down the line.
You might also open up an IRA or get some CDs. If you want to invest, but you’re willing to risk a little more, you can also get a mutual fund or even buy some stocks. It all depends on how much money you have left and how risky of an investor you want to be.
You Can Buy Yourself Some Gifts
One final thing you might do is spend the remaining money, or some of it, on gifts for yourself. Maybe you feel like you deserve it after your ordeal.
You might get a new car or a big-screen TV. Maybe you want the latest smartphone or gaming system. This is all about you: whatever you like more than anything else, you can spend some of that money on it as a reward for getting through this challenging time.
The more injury claims money you get, the more you can do with it. Choose wisely, as you may never see a windfall like this again.