People who suffer from traumatic brain injury, or TBI, face a different world than the everyday person. A person who has a TBI is more likely to suffer from mental health issues and is also more likely to experience unemployment, homelessness, and in some cases incarceration.
TBI is a traumatic experience – those who suffer are forced to change their lives dramatically to find a new quality of life and adjust to their new reality, which can be a struggle. Where they once were able to complete simple tasks on their own, they may have to rely on others, and often lose a sense of independence in their life.
In Canada, when negotiating a settlement for a person who has suffered a brain injury, a structured settlement is often used to provide more benefits for the plaintiff. Structured settlements can offer a better quality of life and make it easier to manage financial stability for the recipient.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a form of brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.
Traumas that may cause a TBI include hitting one’s head on a hard surface after a trip or fall or a motor vehicle collision where the head is struck on the interior of the car, or by force of a deploying air bag. However, it is imperative to note that a direct impact to the head is not required for a TBI to occur. Rather, a simple whiplash motion (e.g. from a rear-end collision), can cause a TBI as well.
Traumatic brain injuries cause many challenges, including issues with muscle coordination, memory, emotional control, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, ringing in the ears, reduced focus and concentration, and paralysis. For more information, please read our blog discussing the symptoms and effects of a TBI.
What is a structured settlement?
A structured settlement is an agreement for the payment of damages in a personal injury lawsuit, where the payments are made over time. These payments are guaranteed, tax-free deposits that can last either across a plaintiff’s lifetime or until a determined period.
These payments can be preferable to traditional payouts because it allows the plaintiff to receive their compensation in a way that is easier to manage their finances over time. Some people also prefer structured settlements to lump sum payouts because they know exactly how much money they will receive each month and can better prepare for when the payments stop (if not paid to lifetime). Importantly, the amount structured will also earn interest, tax-free, which will have the effect of growing the settlement amount for the duration of the structure.
How does a structured settlement help those with a TBI?
In the event of a TBI, an individual may need to rely on a structured settlement to pay for their care. This will allow those who have suffered from a TBI to build independent structures in their life, as well as increase their financial stability. This can be beneficial for several reasons:
It allows the injured person to receive compensation while they are still recovering. This may allow them to purchase additional services or equipment that their insurance might not cover or pay for. It also allows them time to adjust their lifestyle around their injuries and begin saving for future needs.
It gives the injured person more control over how their money is spent. This can help keep them from making decisions based on emotions or impulse that could lead them into financial trouble later down the line.
It avoids any tax liability for the plaintiff. If the plaintiff receives money from an injury settlement, it is not considered taxable income and they will not owe taxes on it.
Structured settlements can work out well for those who have suffered from a TBI. By allowing them to focus on their quality of life, rather than their finances, structured settlements can provide a better foundation for a person who has suffered a TBI.
Roger R. Foisy and Harpreet S. Sidhu are experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Ontario who have helped clients with brain injuries receive compensation. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, please contact us for immediate support and a free consultation.