Interview With Structured Settlement Recipient Judith
Judith received a structured settlement after being involved in a serious accident many years ago that left her in a coma for two weeks. She has since made a full recovery. NASP sat down with Judith to talk about her decision to sell a part of her settlement payments and her experience with the court approval process, and to show how our industry helps those in need access their funds. Judith's last name and specific company names have been omitted.
Question: Can you give us the background of how you initially got a settlement?
Judith: Well, I was crossing the street and I was struck by a school bus and spent two weeks in a coma. They didn't expect me to live, so, it's been a crazy ride.
Question: What led to the decision to sell a portion of that settlement?
Judith: We have some things that we need to do with the money—my husband needs teeth, and we would like to move where it's warmer. So, it’s going to take money to do all that.
Question: Why have you decided to relocate?
Judith: You spend about nine months indoors because [the weather where we live is] so bad. We can’t get out very easily—neither one of us walks very well—and so you slip and fall.
Question: Didn't you have a fall last year? On the ice?
Judith: Yes, and it was bad.
Question: How did you find out about the settlement purchase industry?
Judith: Well, we had sold some of it [her settlement] in 2012, and we originally learned about it from a TV report.
Question: Can you talk about the court process—how you found it, the sort of questions you faced from the judge, and how easy was it to navigate? Your first application was denied, why?
Judith: She had concerns about what we had done with the money in 2012—because she thought we hadn't used it to do what we said we were going to do, but we did. Apparently she just wanted something showing that we did. She apparently didn't take our word for it. She had several things like that. It was basically she just didn't understand where we were at and why we needed more money.
Question: Do you remember any specifics about what she was asking for as proof?
Judith: She was asking for statements showing we paid off the debts that we said we were going to pay off, and she basically wanted a detailed list of what we did with the money.
Question: Can you talk about the process the second time around, going back before the judge—how that went?
Judith: The second time around it was very good. I got to go up and speak with the judge. And I felt better about that, because if she had questions she was asking me questions, and the first time around it felt like I was a bystander.
QUESTION: Can you provide examples of the sort of questions she had for you that you were able to answer directly?
Judith: She asked what we had…why we needed money again. We provided all the reasons—so she was fine with that.
Question: What was the settlement purchase company’s role in guiding you through this process—from when you first contacted them to the point where you got approved?
Judith: I felt very involved. They took the time to have conversations by phone with specific questions and what exactly they needed from me…I felt better about it. Plus, it was nice to know that I had somebody who was actually going to fight for me in court.
Question: Was there a high level of attention to detail?
Judith: Yes, they were very detailed. They listed exactly what they wanted from me and why they wanted it, so that I was fully aware of everything. It was great.