A victim could face a lifetime of limitations after a catastrophic personal injury. These limitations might mean that he or she cannot play his or her favorite sports, have a hard time driving a car, or need assistance with everything from grocery shopping to eating dinner. There is no question that physical injuries can take years of activity away from a victim. Under the surface there may be even more trauma. The psychological repercussions of newfound limitations run deep. The anxiety that accompanies such an ordeal could take a person months or even years to fully recover. While not able to solve all problems, monetary compensation helps to provide for victims and ease the weight of their new burdens.
When Terrence Taylor was a child during the 1980’s his parents utilized an electric space heater to keep their home warm. Due a defect, the space heater malfunctioned and it burst into flames. Terrence was badly scarred and his skin was disfigured. His lawyers were able to secure a verdict that would leave Terrence provided for, financially, for the rest of his life. The reward was 31.5 million dollars. However, Terrence, given that he was a child at the time, did not receive the reward all at once. In fact, even after he was an adult, he would not receive the reward all at once. The settlement plan was a reflection of his injuries and what his ongoing needs would require as he grew older. Because his injuries would limit him for the rest of his life, his plan was designed to cover him for the rest of his life. New York Life Insurance, on behalf of the heater’s manufacturer would pay Terrence $10,000 every month for the rest of his life. It sounds good in theory, however problems arose and by 2012 Terrence was being evicted from his West Virginia Townhouse because he was unable to pay rent.
Selling the Future
Almost from the moment Taylor came of age he was the target of predatory companies seeking to profit off of his settlement and his future. Within two years, four companies made offers on and bought Taylor’s right to future compensation. The victim sold off about 11 million dollars’ worth of future payments and in exchange he was paid $1.4 million. This comes out to about 16 received for every dollar given up.
A judge named Dean Sword in a Virginia courthouse approved each of the offers. Taylor himself never set foot in the courtroom. At this rate Taylor may receive some of the payments he is entitled to again in 2044, when he is over 60 years old. Terrance’s situation is not unique; often victims will eagerly sell their right to collect these future benefits for a lump sum of cash in hand, often to their own detriment.
There is a lesson to be learned here maybe. If you suffer from a catastrophic injury, get a attorney who puts you first. Not just today or tomorrow, but for the entire duration of your injuries.