Winston Law Group
Winston Law Group

"At Winston Law Group, we know you’ve worked hard to build the life you have.  You can be assured we will work just as hard to help you and your family keep those assets."

Personal Injury Settlement Consulting

At Winston Law Group, our attorneys work closely with personal injury attorneys and other professionals to maximize the value of a settlement or judgment for the injured or disabled party and their families. Personal injury cases are complex and many components can impact the client’s future, including:

Before settlement

Many public benefit and management factors need to be addressed at the time of settlement and should often be considered at the onset of the case. Our attorneys are experts in public benefits eligibility, special needs counseling and planning, special needs trusts, tax issues, structured settlements, and  how personal injury and worker’s compensation settlements need to be coordinated with each of these important settlement procedures and individual needs. If a client is incompetent and requires court approval for settlement or trust creation, we prepare the necessary documents and appear as required in  court.  Likewise, if the individual is deceased, we obtain court appointment of a legal representative for the estate. We consult with attorneys, the injured or disabled parties, and their families to ensure that entitlement and needs-based public benefits are preserved and any liens or claims against the settlement are resolved.

. Personal injury cases are complex and many components have a major impact on the outcome for the client, including:

  • Public benefit liens
  • Probate court involvement
  • Present and future public benefit eligibility
  • Life care planning
  • Settlement management planning.

Resolving these issues can be as time consuming and difficult for the personal injury attorney as obtaining the actual settlement. Our attorneys are experts in public benefits eligibility, special needs planning, special needs trusts, tax issues, probate, and supporting trial-court and worker’s compensation settlement approval. We ensure that entitlement and needs-based public benefits are protected and any claims against the settlement are resolved so that when the personal injury attorney closes the file, it stays closed.

Many public benefit and management factors need to be addressed at the time of settlement and should often be considered at the onset of the case. Our attorneys are experts in public benefits eligibility, special needs counseling and planning, special needs trusts, tax issues, structured settlements, and  how personal injury and worker’s compensation settlements need to be coordinated with each of these important settlement procedures and individual needs. If a client is incompetent and requires court approval for settlement or trust creation, we prepare the necessary documents and appear as required in  court.  Likewise, if the individual is deceased, we obtain court appointment of a legal representative for the estate. We consult with attorneys, the injured or disabled parties, and their families to ensure that entitlement and needs-based public benefits are preserved and any liens or claims against the settlement are resolved.

After settlement

After the case settles, we can assist in creating a supplemental needs or asset management trust, obtaining court and agency approval, establishing or reestablishing public benefit eligibility, administering the estate or probate court supervision of a protected person under a guardianship or conservatorship, assisting in lien resolution, and providing ongoing assistance to the injured person as required. We serve as trustees and co-trustees with family members for settlement protection and supplemental needs trusts.  We also create and manage Qualified Settlement Fund accounts, Medicare Set Aside accounts, and provide other post-settlement fiduciary duties.By properly managing the settlement for your client, we allow you to close your file with the assurance that your client will be properly protected long past the settlement.

Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts

The centerpiece of settlement planning is often a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust.  These documents are tailored to each  client’s specific needs and goals and differ based upon age, medical requirements, , family structure, public benefit requirements, and ability to self manage a settlement.  At Winston Law Group, our services go far beyond drafting the trust. We provide clients with a detailed summary of their current and future government benefits, including any benefits not utilized, and detail the impact a settlement could have on their eligibility and long term care, including the potential for liens.

Sometimes a client does not have special needs or require public benefits, but also does not have the capacity or family structure necessary to properly manage the settlement.  In this case, we recommend a Settlement Protection and Management Trust. Our goal is to preserve settlement monies for the long term care and well-being of our clients and their families.

Government benefit eligibility requirements differ among programs and states.  We regularly work with individuals who receive:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • MassHealth (Medicaid)
  • CommonHealth
  • Medicare
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Public housing subsidies
  • Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) and Dept. of Developmental Disabilities (DDS) Services

Aside from ongoing and potential eligibility when a settlement is received, both Medicaid and Medicare have third-party payor recovery rules, and Medicare is expanding its current prospective benefit Set Aside Arrangements for Workers Compensation cases to include third-party liability settlements.

It is necessary to protect the government’s interest in a third-party recovery, and this duty carries ongoing personal liability not only for the injured who receives the benefits, but also for the personal injury attorney, insurer, and even medical providers who receive reimbursement. By properly managing the settlement for your client, we protect you in the process.

To learn more about our personal injury settlement support services, including the use of special or supplemental needs trusts, please contact us.