“You have to use our structured settlements guy!” – Bryan Larson – Defense Attorney
Why do plaintiff attorneys agree to this in the first place? Maybe it’s because the mediation was successful and the deal is almost done and the “I don’t want to stir the pot” attitude kicks in. But let’s look at this issue in a different context. What if the defense said, “You have to use OUR expert witness!?” Would you agree to that stipulation?
So, why does the defense feel entitled to say, “You have to use our structure guy?” When a structured settlement is part of a negotiation, it is the defense’s responsibility to fund the annuity. The insurance company being sued has a few “approved” companies to handle this process. Defense producers are on an approved panel to work with insurance companies to ensure that the insurance company’s interests are protected. As defense and plaintiff alike has the right to use its own expert witness, each party has the right to retain its own structured settlement broker. Because it is the responsibility of the defendant to purchase the annuity, they want their guy to do it.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up your right to use your own expert! Allow the defendant to bring his or her own structured settlement broker to the table, but insist that your consultant will work directly with the claimant to create the final plan. By having your own structure broker, you can ensure that your interests and the interests of your client are being protected.
It is imperative not to yield to the defense attorney’s demands on an issue related to your client’s most important financial transaction of his or her life. Remember, all parties of the defense are released of their liability once you sign the settlement agreement and release. If you are only using their structure broker, you are releasing the broker from any wrong doing of writing the settlement annuity for your client. Should something go awry, who is left responsible?
Employ your own advisor to educate your client about structured settlements and other financial options as well as public benefit preservation using a Special Needs Trust. Failing to offer a structured settlement to preserve public benefits can have disastrous consequences for the plaintiff and ultimately could subject plaintiff counsel to liability.
Click here to contact us if you have any questions regarding how to better protect yourself and your clients.
M. Sean Brown
Structured Settlements Consultant
4525 S. Wasatch Blvd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84124
Facsimile: (801) 365-6099