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The case for structured settlements

Pressure from insurance companies for lump sums should be resisted, Richard Fraser argues

26 March 2014

Defendants in serious injury or medical negligence cases are now fighting increasingly hard against the use of periodical payments in settlements.

NHS trusts, when facing clinical negligence or medical accident claims, are by and large still amenable to carefully costed and fairly structured settlements.

But many of the smaller insurance companies - long reluctant to commit to periodical payments for the duration of the claimant's lifetime - are pushing back against the trend and arguing for lump sum settlements.

In large part this is driven by financial concerns. Many insurers are keen to reduce their liabilities and such open-ended commitments are an obvious candidate.

Comparing lump sum settlements with periodical payment awards in purely cost terms is tricky, as any settlement is of necessity built around an assumption, rather than a fact - how long will the claimant live.

Medical professionals do not always agree on life expectancy - ...

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