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Title: Benefits protection following motorcycle accident

Date: 13 June 2012

Question

I am approaching settlement of my claim (a trial is set for September but my solicitor has arranged a meeting to try and settle it before) and I am worried about what the future holds as I am unable to work and will need to be on benefits. My mate said that I will lose my benefits when I get my compensation. Is this right? How am I meant to survive if I can’t work and don’t get benefits?

Neal Joseph, Barnstaple

Answer

I assume that you sustained serious injuries if you state that you are unable to work. Your compensation claim should include your future loss of earnings if your inability to work is directly attributable to the accident. As such this should be adequately compensating you. However, if there is a split liability (for example each party taking 50% of the blame) then there will be a shortfall. Your mate is right that significant compensation can lead to the withdrawal of benefits but you can protect your entitlement to continue to receive benefits irrespective of receiving significant compensation.

The way to do this is by setting up a Personal Injury Trust and the money is then paid into that. This way the compensation is ring fenced. I suggest that you discuss this with your lawyer. There are time limits by which time such a Trust should be set up so if you have received any substantial interim payments this will need to be considered as it may be too late.

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