There are various physical changes that happen as a person ages. Our hearing, vision, and reflexes worsen leading to an increased risk of injuries among the elderly. Not only are senior citizens more prone to injury, they are at higher risk of injury-related complications from which they will not recover.
Common Injury Scenarios
Slip and Falls are the most common injuries in people over the age of 65. They are the leading cause of hospitalizations among senior citizens. Over 90% of hip fractures are caused by a slip and fall accident whether at home or outside.
Motor Vehicle Accidents are the second most common among senior citizens. While all drivers and pedestrians are at risk of injury as a result of a motor vehicle, the percentage is significantly higher in those over 65 years of age. Motor Vehicle Accidents also come with a high risk of injury complications as older people react differently to accident trauma than a younger person.
Plaintiffs over 65 years of age are typically receiving benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), Federally Assisted-Housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Low-Income Home Energy-Assistance. Large Personal Injury settlements can disqualify senior citizens from receiving such assistance and put a stop to Medicaid and SSI.
What Are the Options
Accept the Settlement - The quickest option is to accept the offered settlement and use that money to improve the quality of care above what Medicare would provide.
Spend Down - Rather than spend the settlement money on the quality of care, it could also be spent on goods and services that benefit the plaintiff. The funds may be put towards the purchase of a house, home improvements, a vehicle, a vacation, or pre-payment for funeral arrangements.
Set up a Trust - Having too many assets disqualifies a Medicaid applicant from receiving benefits. Another option when it comes to receiving an injury settlement is to put that money into a trust to ensure the applicant qualifies for Medicaid.
Contact our estate planning attorneys to determine your best course of action when it comes to your personal injury settlement.