People want money when they know they are entitled to it. This is more true today than it ever has been. If we order a product, or want a service, we can have access to it within a maximum of a week. Our expectations for delivery are at an all-time high, and our impatience just seems to grow.
If you are a plaintiff attorney, especially one who deals with personal injury cases, you have probably experienced this impatience on a much grander scale.
You just won a large amount of money for a client who was severely injured and will need care for the rest of their lives. That care, as you know, is going to cost them a lot of money over a long period of time.
The plaintiff and/or their family wants of the money in lump sum.
This is understandable because when people know they are entitled to something, they usually want it all at once. In cases where the settlement is smaller, or the plaintiff was killed in a wrongful death situation, a lump sum settlement payment makes sense. But in a situation like the one I described above, it can be much more beneficial to go with a structured settlement.
The sad truth is that most people tend to get irresponsible with their spending when they have just received a lot of money. Look at a lot of this centuries lottery winners and some former professional athletes. When you put a large stack of money in front of someone, they think about what they can do with the money right then. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. It’s just that odds are, they have a lot of bills that have piled up, and probably other debt to take over that existed before they were ever injured. Of course, they’ll clear off all of their debts and try to make their lives as comfortable as possible. They have been through a lot. All of that can distract them from the fact that all of the money is meant to support them for the long run. They could quickly get caught up in spending within the first few years after the receiving it, and end up without enough money to afford the medical care they need when they are older and there’s no family members around to look after them.
Structured settlements help to fix that. It ensures the money has longevity, and that there will always be money to afford the medical care the plaintiff needs. When a client says they want a lump sum payment, think about what all they will need for the rest of their life, especially if they will be unable to provide for themselves. You’ve helped them win the case. Now help them stay on the right course for the best life possible.
Want to learn more about structured settlements vs. lump sum payments? Check out Alanna Ritchie’s article, “Would a Structured Settlement or Lump Sum Make Sense for Your Client?”