William W. Hurst, Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer
Imagine this situation – A woman is severely injured in a Semi-Truck accident and will not be able to work again. She hires an attorney to represent her in making her personal injury claim and he is able to secure a large settlement for her. She wants all the money up-front so her attorney has it paid directly to her. She then gives some money to her children, maybe buys a nice boat or that luxury sports car she’s always wanted, and runs through the money quickly, leaving her with nothing to live off of and no way to make any money after just a year or two. How is she to live? How could this have been avoided?
The answer to the first question isn’t one any of us would like to image, the answer to the second question, however, is quite simple, she should have gotten a structured settlement that would pay her a certain amount monthly, making it impossible to blow through all the money quickly.
In cases where our clients have serious injuries we regularly recommend they agree to a structured settlement that will pay them over time and secure their future. We do this because as the hypothetical above illustrates clients who sustain these catastrophic injuries will likely not be able to work for the rest of their lives or at the very least will have to take a lower paying job. This leaves them unable to support themselves at the same level they are used to and we want to make sure they have a livable income long-term. Our job as personal injury attorneys is to make sure our clients get the compensation they deserve and are protected financially, this does both.
Many clients who agree to these structured settlements, however, decide later that they want all the money now and sell their structured settlement to someone like “JG Wentworth”. These companies provide the client with a lump sum that is substantially less than what would be paid out long-term from the settlement and in exchange they begin receiving the settlement payments the client was entitled to. In some cases these companies will give the client a fair amount, but others make a lot of money by taking advantage of people who just need the cash as quickly as possible and don’t take the time to look for the best deal.
Personal Injury Attorneys and members of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association have been fighting this for years. As a representative of the NSSTA once said, some companies will take as little as 12%, which is fair because they have to make money and money is worth more now than it is late (basic principles of economics), but others will try to take 30% more of our settlement, giving you a
lump-sum payout of substantially less than what you deserve. The outcome of many of these predatory transaction is an injured accident victim with no long-term income and far less money than they deserve. So be cautious if you are looking at selling your structured settlement, it may not be in your best interest. Shop around, find the best rate and maybe even give the attorney who settled your case a call. He/she will be able to give you advice on whether or not you’re getting ripped off.