The sports industry has begun to face a reckoning for sexual abuse that had historically been swept under the rug. It has reached virtually all levels of sports – from universities like Penn State in 2011 and more recently with University of Southern California, to Olympics members via Michigan State, USA Taekwondo, and cases like Bridie Farrell’s against individual team members. This week, a dozen female water polo players prevailed against their former coach who sexually abused them from 2012 to 2017. The women will split a $13.85 million settlement with USA Water Polo and International Water Polo Club, the two organizations that failed to protect them.
The momentum continues to build as these and other abusers who thought they were untouchable – and the organizations they hid behind – are taken to task for their egregious behavior. And along with the settlements achieved in these cases also comes the day that the world knows what they’ve done. While that moment can be extremely difficult for the survivors to face, voicing their stories helps put an end to current and future abuse, and that’s very powerful.
Thinking Ahead: After Settlement in the USA Water Polo Sexual Abuse Litigation
With a large settlement (like the one reached this week in the Water Polo sexual abuse case) can come a large burden on each survivor to figure out the next stage of her or his financial life. We often say that a survivor’s journey does not end at the conclusion of a lawsuit. That’s why, as litigation concludes, the smartest next step is for each individual to work with a professional on choosing planning options that are most meaningful. The best settlement planning experts take a holistic look at each survivor’s needs, concerns, and goals for the future so they may identify strategies to ensure settlement is as beneficial as possible. That way, survivors can move forward confidently into the next chapter of life.
A settlement plan can involve many things for a survivor. It might include an investment-backed periodic payment plan, which comes with tax advantages and guaranteed future income. It could involve a trust, such as a domestic asset protection trust, which secures the assets and protects the individual from life-changing occurrences down the road. For those with needs-based government benefits, a proper settlement plan can ensure the survivor doesn’t lose benefits eligibility due to the incoming settlement.
There are many moving parts to any settlement, often more so when the case involves sexual abuse. That’s why Milestone designed The Settlement Account specifically to care for the needs of survivors who receive a personal injury settlement from a sexual abuse case. Rather than accepting settlement monies outright, any sexual assault survivor across the U.S. who receives a settlement from their lawsuit has the option to settle into The Settlement Account. This and other innovations are our way of doing our part to ensure survivors have the support they need in our corner of civil justice.
Expert Settlement Help for Water Polo Sexual Abuse Survivors
An emerging standard of care for trial lawyers is recognizing that settlement is not an end, but a beginning. Survivors deserve strategies that ensure a lifetime of financial security. We welcome survivors – including those involved in the USA Water Polo settlement or any others – to give Milestone a call for a free, no-obligation chat with a trauma-informed expert about their options.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).