More often than not, people with valuable litigation have difficulty sustaining themselves, financially, through a long and difficult legal process. Lawsuit funding offers your client a choice when he/she is involved in litigation, but is unable to afford monthly payments, house notes, car payments, groceries, rent, or other essentials. If the client was already in financial distress, a disabling accidental injury simply adds to an already existing problem.
Litigation finance companies offer a solution for people who are disabled, in litigation over their injury or disability, have poor credit, are facing foreclosure or eviction or have other, serious and immediate, financial needs. Legal finance companies offer non-recourse cash advances, based upon a professional assumption of the potential value of the funded case. The client pays no monthly payment; in fact, no payments of any kind are due unless and until the case resolves successfully at terms that are sufficient to repay the advance.
Clients and attorneys often ask: ‘What’s the catch’? ‘What happens if we lose the case’? ‘Will that event create additional indebtedness’? The short answer is ‘no’. Litigation funding cash advances are ‘non-recourse’; if your client’s case is unsuccessful, the advance is excused. That is right; if your client loses his/her case, he/she does not have to repay the lawsuit finance company. Further, since a financially distressed client is not a positive influence on settlement negotiations, taking away that financial distress will make it much easier for you to pursue your client’s case to its just conclusion without worrying that your client will settle for too little, too soon.
Most companies require documentation to complete an advance; there can be a substantial difference in the amount of paperwork required. Lawsuit Financial, for instance, requires a completed one-page intake form and one-page attorney questionnaire form (completed by the handling attorney) to be submitted along with no more than 10-15 pages of case records that tend to support the request. For auto accident legal funding, for instance, the attorney would submit the completed forms along with a police report, the front page of a pleading (case caption and case number identifies the litigation), proof of insurance coverage and policy limits, and medical documentation limited to a description of the injury and its relationship to the accident. Often, case review and funding decision can occur on the same day. Upon approval and contract execution, your clients’ money can be available on the same day or next day; there are no prolonged "waiting periods" for your clients to get the money they need now.
I am sure I don’t need to remind you that litigation plaintiffs are often forced to settle valuable cases for less than they actually deserve. Big corporate and big insurance will use their significant financial resources to prolong lawsuits, hoping that your clients will settle for pennies on the dollar because they lack the financial strength to hold out for appropriate results. Litigation finance services provides your clients with a precious commodity: time to pursue justice. Leverage the legal funding company’s money to buy the time needed to obtain case appropriate results for your clients.
Litigation financing is not a perfect solution and it is not for everyone. But, if a client is already having a difficult time making ends meet, lawsuit finance services may permit him/her to continue to fight, aggressively, to the end. It is not a process to take lightly, but it merits your consideration in the right strategic situation.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.