A structured settlement attorney is a legal professional who specializes in the field of structured settlement annuities and the multitude of laws and legal jargon that surround these incredibly complex compensation claim payments.
Structured settlements are what plaintiffs commonly enter into when they are awarded compensation for an injury which was caused due to the irresponsibility or recklessness of a company or another individual.
When a plaintiff enters into a structured settlement, they will be awarded periodical payments over a specified period of time – this could be ten years, twenty years or even their entire lifetime, depending on the injuries they have suffered and what the judge in the case considers to be a reasonable settlement.
The responsibility for paying however, does not come down to the defendant in the case, so long as he or she is covered for accidental injury to other persons by their insurance company. In this case, the insurance company will take on responsibility for the cash structured settlement payments, and this is where things get confusing.
Why the need for a structured settlement attorney?
A structured settlement is considered as the holder’s “right” to receive money according to the terms stipulated in the agreement.
This means that structured settlements have a high value in the eyes of not just the plaintiff in the case, but also other parties, including insurance companies, the tax man, the US government, third party investors and others.
Due to this, an entire industry has grown around structured settlements, regarding their creation, rights to sell, purchase, and their investment potential.
The existence of other parties in a structured settlement agreement causes all kinds of legal complexities, and this is why we have attorneys who specialize in this area.
The number of companies and individuals that can become involved in structured settlements – persons who had nothing to do with the original settlement - can be quite staggering, creating a huge legal minefield should an annuity holder want to sell his or her policy.
The market for investing in structured settlement payments has become huge in recent years – so big that in 2001 the government decided to introduce a Federal Structured Settlement Protection Act in order to govern the sale of a policy holder’s future payment rights.
This means that the transfer, purchase and sale of all or part of a structured settlement, together with the tax implications that arise from any kind of transaction, are regulated by law – hence the need for skilled attorneys who understand the complex legalities of structured settlements.
A structured settlement attorney needs to be extremely well versed in many different legal areas – including insurance laws, litigation, constitutional laws, tax laws, rules of evidences, the underwriting of risk, and many more.
Additionally, they also need to have an in-depth knowledge of the structured settlement industry in general, along with all of its complexities so they are able to provide services to their clients, which could be buyers, sellers, investors, bankruptcy trustees or even the courts themselves.
As you can see, structured settlement attorneys know their stuff. If you are considering taking part in a transaction involving structured settlements, be it as a seller or an investor, speak to a structured settlement attorney as soon as you can and make sure you understand the legalities.