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66 A.B.A. J 734 (1980)
Periodic Payments of Bodily Injury Awards

handle is hein.journals/abaj66 and id is 735 raw text is: By Roger C. Henderson.
THE COMMON law system of awarding
damages in bodily injury cases is famil-
iar-the lump-sum payment. The trier
of fact mus' determine at the time of
trial all damages, past and future,
owing to a clainant. Perhaps this sys-
tem is the only one the courts could
realistically administer when the law
regarding damages in bodily injury
cases developed. Yet it-is not free from
problems. One of the more serious
problems is the lack of information
needed to assess the damages accu-
rately at the time of the trial.
A number of things are relatively un-
certain at the time of trial in serious in-
jury cases. Even with the passage of
time, we may never know what the
claimant would have been like without
injury. On the other hand, time will re-
veal what the seriously injured claim-
ant will be like in the future. We shall
also know answers to other questions,
such as the state of the economy which
now looms as a serious question for the
trier of fact in fixing large damage

awards for losses that will accrue far
into the future.
Although uncertainties affecting
damage awards are a major concem,
other equally important matiers have
developed that call for re-examination
of how large awards of future damages
in bodily injury cases are calculated
and paid. First, half-million and mul-
timillion dollar awards have become so
frequent in the last few years that they
no longer represent the exceptional
case. They have a great impact on the
availability and affordability of bodily
injury liability insurance. The most
acute problems have been experienced
in the areas of products liability and
medical malpractice, which have given
rise to some of the most serious injury
cases. Second, the income tax laws
make it to the benefit of claimants, and
even their attorneys, to think about al-
ternatives to the present system.
Payment of damages as they
accrue in the future can
provide substantial tax say-
ings. Third, improvident
dispos.ion of            VC

large lump-sum awards by successful
claimants is not a matter that should be
ignored any longer.
l 2ause of the availability and
affordability problems in bodily injury
liability insurance markets and other
factors, a number of states have adopted
legislation, mainly in the field of prod-
ucts liability, that permits judgments
for damages for bodily injury to be paid
in periodic installments rather than in a
lump sum. In the main, this legislation
has not been thorough and has created
more problems than it solves. The prob-
lems not only affect litigants living in
the adopting states, but, because of the
national and international nature of
products liability litigation,
citizens and businesses
throughout the United States
In 1977 the National  -   h


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