Financial concerns following major trauma
Suffering a major trauma injury can have a huge impact on your life. Recovery from your injuries may be a long process, from receiving treatment at a Major Trauma Centre, to being able to return to the life you led pre-accident, and sadly, in some cases, this may not be possible. Major trauma injuries can be life changing, and inevitably bring with them various concerns.
Whilst time spent in a Major Trauma Centre may be focussed on treatment and recovery, it is important to consider other aspects of life, such as finances, especially in cases where the person who has suffered major trauma is the main breadwinner. Concerns about paying the mortgage or rent, household bills, and future job security can add to an already stressful time.
In a recent interview by Major Trauma Group, a not-for-profit community interest company which assists major trauma victims and their families through the provision of legal advice and ancillary services, we were asked about what individuals could do to alleviate financial worries following a major trauma.
If someone has suffered a major trauma and has concerns about paying their household expenses, what would your advice be?
Firstly, we would suggest carrying out a budget review, this is especially important if the person who has suffered injury is the main breadwinner and their income may be affected because of an extended period of absence from work whilst they recover from their injuries or because they are self-employed. A budget review in simple terms is to look at what your monthly income will be and prioritise your outgoings as to what is essential to maintain an acceptable quality of life versus luxuries that you may be able to cut back on or do without for a while.
Essential expenses are generally mortgage or rent, utility bills, essential shopping such as food, clothing and toiletries and minimum payments on credit such as car loan, credit card payments or store cards. These should be your priority to ensure payments are maintained. If someone feels they will struggle to pay their mortgage, rent or repayments then they should contact their bank, building society or provider as early as possible to discuss options.
Would someone who has suffered a major trauma be entitled to claim benefits?
We always recommend a welfare benefits review and here at Nestor we have a dedicated welfare benefits adviser who can carry out a review with the injured person or their family. Possible benefits that could be claimed include universal credits, employment & support allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payments and attendance allowance. It’s important to ensure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, and we can also help with the application process.
After suffering major trauma and perhaps having to take a lower paid job, how can people increase their monthly income long term?
Some people who suffer major trauma may never fully recover and would be unable to return to their previous job, which may mean taking lower paid employment or a part-time role.
If money is tight, there are various things that could be considered:
- renting out a spare room in your home;
- selling unwanted possessions; or
- recycling old phones and technology.
Some insurance policies may replace a proportion of income if someone is unable to work, for example a payment protection insurance, mortgage payment protection insurance or short-term income protection insurance.
If the injuries were sustained as a result of an accident which was someone else’s fault, then the individual should also discuss with their solicitor the possibility of an interim payment, which is an early payment of part of a compensation claim, which can help through a financially difficult period.