The structured settlement industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry, benefiting a few but hurting even more in the process. Created to help the injured, a structured settlement will often do the exact opposite, trapping an individual in a cycle of overdue bills, missed payments, and stress that can tear a family unit apart.
Structured settlements are given to those in accidents or those who have suffered a catastrophic accident at someone else’s hands. These can be for car accidents, lead poisoning, work related injury, or even for lottery or casino winnings. These settlements can be life contingent, which means they end if the person with the settlement should die, or they can be transferrable, which means that people in their family can keep receiving the settlement even if the unfortunate should happen. These settlements happen out of court. They consist of a large lump sum, doled out in certain amounts over a certain schedule by the insurance company. Sometimes, these payments are too small and spread ot to do any good for the victim. It can be another prison, separate from their injury. Other times, a victim may outgrow their settlement. They may have gone back to work, and are not relying on that money like they used to. In these circumstances, selling the structured settlement may be able to help them.
When selling a structured settlement, or when selling an annuity, a victim should understand that the reason for selling should be in their best interests. A judge wants to make sure that the victim is not going to spend money that should go to their support on frivolous reasons. Accepted reasons for selling a structured settlement could mean anything. When selling, the victim should have a purpose for their money. If a victim in a car accident needs a new car, they can use their proceeds to purchase that. Or if medical bills have been piling up, and the structured settlement is not really helping to cover them, a structured settlement can be sold to help cover those. Sometimes, a person can see an on the job accident as a wake up call. They may decide to change their career. After selling a structured settlement, they may start their own business or go back to school. Others may want to take their family on a dream vacation. The victim should remember that the structured settlement is their money, and they shouldn’t let a judge or insurance company tell them what to do with it.
Of course, the insurance company wants the victim to stay with the structured settlement because they are profiting off of it. They invest the lump sum, so they can make money off of someone else’s suffering. That is not right. The judge, on the other hand, is truly looking out for the victim’s best interests. It still is not right for the insurance company to profit off of hardship.
By deciding to sell a structured settlement, a victim may feel their first freedom in years. Their debt can be erased, their living conditions can seem better, and family stress can disappear. Sometimes, selling a structured settlement can be the best thing for a family.