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article imageOp-Ed: What is a Structured Settlement?

By Alexander Baron     Jan 30, 2014 in Business
If you are awarded a large personal injury claim, should you take the money in a lump sum, or should you opt for regular payments?
Some of the largest sums awarded in civil actions — on both sides of the Atlantic — are for medical negligence, personal injury, and the like. This is because many of the successful claimants will be incapacitated for the rest of their lives to varying degrees. To take just one example, in October 2011, a 12-year-old boy was awarded some £5 million in an out-of-court-settlement with the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust after suffering brain damage allegedly as the result of an operation to correct a heart defect in October 1999.
Yes, those dates are correct, but the scandalous length and cost of medical negligence litigation in the UK is an entirely different issue.
Although £5 million may sound like a great deal of money — unless your name is Demis Hassabis — this settlement will be used by the boy's parents to provide the care, accommodation, equipment and support he will need for the rest of his life.
If you are so unfortunate as to suffer some incapacitating injury for which you receive a substantial award, you may elect to take a lump sum, or instead something called a structured settlement. Which should you take? Here is a short video by West Coast attorney Tom Girardi explaining the benefits of a structured settlement rather than a one-time payout. Although this was uploaded in July of last year it has had far too few views. Mr Girardi was back in the news this month speaking with his usual frankness in relation to former NFL players. The number involved — 1,200 — might make anyone question the wisdom of taking up a career in American football.
A structured settlement need not be forever; there are companies out there that deal in them; a structured settlement buyer is a niche profession, and like a personal injuries lawyer, is one best avoided if you can.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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