05 Oct Structured Settlements and Workplace Injuries
The main reason the majority of injury cases are paid in structured settlements is because that’s just the way the government wants it. The Periodic Payment Settlement Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-473) formally recognizes and encourages the use of structured settlements in physical injury cases, which means that the total sum of a settlement is paid gradually instead of all at once. In addition, those who receive such settlements typically save between 25 and 35% in state and federal taxes on interest income that would otherwise be taxable with structured settlements.
There are many ways to stumble into a structured settlement. One of the most common is from a work-related injury. One out of every five American adults say that they’ve suffered an injury while on the job. On average, a work-related injury results in the loss of $38,000 worth of wages, productivity loss, and medical bills. With these costs, many people cannot afford to receive these payments in the form of an annuity. Many people with serious injuries find that they need all of their money as soon as possible.
Why is the need for all funds in a settlement so great? For the most part, it comes down to medical expenses. Even relatively mundane injuries or medical procedures can cost a lot more than most people would expect. Take a herniated disk, for example. This is a fairly common injury for those required to lift heavy material for long periods of time. The surgery itself will cost about $6,000, according to a 2006 report by USA Today, and that average has surely increased since. A simple X-ray can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $1,000 in some cases. That’s before calculating in post-injury rehabilitation efforts like physical therapy, which will run at least $100 per session.
The cost of medical procedures will almost always be more than what’s estimated. One NerdWallet study found that 63% of Americans received unexpectedly high medical bills in relation to what they thought they would end up paying. On top of the required treatments and procedures for injuries, there are countless additional expenses that can spring up at any moment, such as wheelchair rental, costs for buying crutches, and the price of alternative forms of therapy, just to name a few.
Approximately 75% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and many have little to no emergency savings to help them cover unexpected expenses. Selling a structured settlement can be the perfect way to provide Americans with the means to take care of their health or the health of a loved one should they ever be met with such an unfortunate situation. Instead of succumbing to high interest rates and bank fees from private loans, those who have been injured can take the money that’s owed to them and put it to use immediately.