When and Why to Sell a Structured Settlement Modest Money2 Comments

It hasn’t always been possible to sell a structured settlement. As long as there have been lawsuits, individuals have been encouraged to settle out of court, being awarded a lump sum in exchange for their complicity in not drawing a case out in a courtroom. In the 1970’s it became common for these settlements to be paid out at intervals, over time. This is the “structure” in structured settlement. It was seen as a way to further insulate vulnerable people from predatory practices, or their own spending impulses.

Gradually, structured settlements became the norm for cases settled out of court. Plaintiffs were supposed to be given the option, but many reported being strong-armed into taking a structured settlement, sometimes from an insurance company they had no say in hiring. In some cases, these companies would liquidate, leaving individuals with drastically reduced settlement payments and little legal recourse, and even fewer resources to pursue legal actions that were available to them.

Many of these individuals were still feeling the pinch of the problem that led to the lawsuit in the first place. Some faced long term hospital stays, disability, and loss of income. A gradual payment structure wasn’t sufficient to…

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