People who are concerned that a personal injury compensation award will affect their right to means-tested welfare benefits may want to consider setting up a Personal Injury Trust.
The Financial Times recently reported that a discretionary trust can be set up within 52 weeks of receiving the compensation and if the victim does not have automatic access to it, the money will not be taken into consideration when a claim for state benefits is made.
People lodging a personal injury claim for incidents such as a car accident or a personal injury at work can then rest assured that they are still eligible for the same level of welfare support as other people in the UK. A discretionary trust would also benefit people who receive compensation from medical negligence claims.
Meanwhile, personal injury solicitors are still expressing concern that victims of serious injuries may be denied access to justice, following Lord Young’s report on health and safety.
The Common Sense, Common Safety report aims to put a stop to the “compensation culture” which is prevalent in the UK, but lawyers say that the one rule for all approach is not workable because the complexity and needs in individual cases vary enormously. There is also a danger that only sure fire cases will be taken on because lawyers fear that the costs of litigation will not be recoverable.
In addition, lawyers would like to see quality standards introduced on those who advise on personal injury cases to make sure only genuine claims are pursued.