Personal Injury Trusts
YOU HAVE A SMALL WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY TO SET UP A TRUST FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT
When you receive compensation for an accident, medical negligence or any form of personal injury, your entitlement to state benefits or funded care could be severely affected.
The only way to be safe in the knowledge that the Government, DWP or the Benefits Office will not take this money into account when assessing your entitlement to benefits or assisted care, is to set up a Personal Injury Trust. There are very strict timescales to set up a Trust which are irreversible if you leave it too late.
YOU MAY NOT BE CLAIMING BENEFITS NOW BUT SHOULD YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BACK DATE THE TRUST. COVID-19 MEANT THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE NEEDED THE BENEFITS SYSTEM FOR THE FIRST TIME, HOWEVER, IF ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE HAD RECEIVED COMPENSATION, THIS PREVENTED THEM FROM CLAIMING.
Often these claims are complicated and take years to conclude, meaning you have had to rely on the benefits system more because of your injuries. The party who caused your injury will appoint a Solicitor to act for them as you will have done for your claim.
It is the responsibility of the Solicitor who is defending the person or organisation who caused your injury to notify all the agencies that they are paying you a settlement for your injury. In all cases the sum of money you receive will reduce your entitlement to the benefit, meaning you will now need to supplement your income from your compensation.
There are some exceptions where the money you receive will not be considered but on the whole, it usually is. The Solicitor acting for you will advise you to seek advice in relation to a Trust but may not explain the consequences if you choose not to. Trusts often sound complicated and restrictive but not in the case of a Personal Injury Trust.
You must now consider whether a Personal Injury Trust is right for you.
What are the benefits of a Personal Injury Trust?
The benefits of a Personal Injury Trust are that the injured party can receive any amount of compensation without it affecting benefits, care home fees or predatory family wishing to stake a claim to your settlement. You may struggle to manage your money and would like to have a trusted family member or friend to assist you. If you are unable to get out of the house, live in a remote area or have no access to a bank, a trustee will be able to assist you.
These are some of the compensation claims eligible for a Personal Injury Trust
Compensation received from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for injuries caused by an assault or abuse.
Injuries caused in any way by a 3rd party where you are not at fault.
Medical negligence for incorrect treatment or diagnosis.
Injuries at work.
Compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau for injuries caused by an uninsured or untraced motorist.
Compensation for an accident which happened abroad.
Compensation ordered by a criminal Court in respect of an injury you suffered.
An Armed Forces Compensation Scheme award.
Payments from other government compensation schemes.
Charitable or public donations following an injury.
Payments from insurance policies, for example accident or travel insurance.
Some Employment Tribunal awards.
Payments from a Permanent Health Insurance policy made as you cannot work due to a physical or psychological condition.
Payments from a professional negligence claim paid to compensate for a poorly handled personal injury claim.
Breach of human rights.
Breach of Civil liberties.
Road traffic accidents.
Assault or Abuse.
If I have already received my compensation is it too late?
You have 52 weeks from the date you agreed to receive the funds to set up a Personal Injury Trust. If it is outside this timescale you are too late.
Can I spend the compensation or give the money away so as not to lose my benefits?
The simple answer is yes, if it's paid from your Trust.
What if I don’t currently receive benefits do I still need a Trust?
Many Clients place their settlement in Trust when not receiving benefits to protect it should their circumstances change. A good example of this was during the COVID-19 pandemic which forced thousands of people to claim Universal Credit for the first time. The compensation not in Trust was taken into account and the claim rejected.
If you require care in the future, either at home or in a care home, you will be expected to fund your care from your settlement. A Personal Injury Trust prevents this from happening.
If you wish to have a second person to help you manage your compensation because you have never had money before, a second person can be a Trustee with you meaning they are able to help and support you if required.
If you are unsure whether your claim qualifies, your Solicitor will guide you or contact us. Find out more by getting in touch with us today.