Case Study 8
Ensuring a long term future for an injured person – and their family
I In her teenage years, “J” was involved in a road traffic accident and sustained severe brain and physical injuries. She received an award of damages and a solicitor was appointed to act as her Deputy to manage the money on her behalf.
We did not become involved until J was in her late 30s, when J’s original Deputy retired and another Solicitor was appointed to take over. We were provided with various pieces of financial information including a note of regular monthly payments made by the previous Deputy to J’s parents with whom she lived. We were asked to visit J’s home on the Deputy’s behalf and provide him with an update on J’s financial needs.
It became clear that J and her parents required more than financial assistance. In the years following J’s injury her parents became unhappy with the care and support received from social services and various care agencies. Both had taken very early retirement to provide J’s care themselves. Part of J’s award had been used to buy and adapt a new property and the family had relocated away from other close family and friends.
By the time of our involvement, J’s parents were in their 70s. They had all withdrawn from virtually all contact with the outside world and spent their days inside the family home. No help or assistance was being sought from or provided by any agencies. It was clear that they were finding it increasingly difficult to cope and J’s quality of life was suffering.
Because they had retired very early, neither of J’s parents had amassed much in the way of pension income. The regular monthly payment from J’s award was being spent on meeting the entire family’s living expenses. J was receiving little in the way of state benefits and her entitlement had not been reviewed for many years. The end result was that J’s funds were quickly being depleted and it was very likely that J’s money was going to run out before her death.
We introduced a third party expert to review the entire family’s entitlement to state benefits. Both parents and J were able to claim additional benefits and the family’s monthly income was immediately increased.
We introduced another expert to help the family re-engage with social services and other care agencies. It took a while for trust to build, but J now benefits from attending day centres and other activities and she also receives care and support at home. Her quality of life has improved dramatically and, now that care is shared, so has that of her parents. A care plan is now in place to ensure that if her parents’ ability to support her diminishes in their later years, support from third parties will be increased.
The care and support is for the most part being correctly funded by a combination of the NHS and the local authority.
We ensured that, given the family’s increased benefit income, the monthly withdrawal from J’s award has been dramatically reduced and is limited to the amount required to meet the relatively small shortfall between her income and her expenses. Her parents, rightfully, became responsible for meeting their own living expenses out of their own benefit income.
We have put in place an investment strategy to rebuild the value of J’s capital so that it can provide her with some degree of financial independence and protection against any future reduction in state funding.