Imagine trying to win a race to see who can chop down a tree the fastest. On one side, you stand with an axe, a body full of energy and determination. As you prepare for the race, you glare down at your opponent to psyche him out. To your surprise – he is holding a chain saw. You suddenly realize all the speed, power, and skill in the world will not prevent the inevitable. Unfortunately, many plaintiffs are in this very predicament as it pertains to their lawsuits.
Involvement in a civil lawsuit is often an eye-opening experience for plaintiffs. During this time, plaintiffs are exposed to the game of law and get an education on how participants play the game. Unfortunately, many plaintiffs do not realize it is a game and ultimately suffer because of this. Of course, acknowledging the game will not help a client if he does not have the tools to prevail. Lawsuit funding is one tool available to plaintiffs.
In the above analogy, plaintiffs are simply holding an axe. The axe represents the favorable facts of the case – essentially the reason for the lawsuit. The opponent (defendant) is usually a large insurance company – they are the ones who will ultimately have to pay but they are also the ones holding the chain saw.
Taking this a step further, the chain saw is representative of the various “tools” the insurer has at its disposal. These include the current laws and and access to lawyers and support staff who use these laws to defend against the lawsuit. Ultimately, the insurer has money to pay for all of these things (lawyers, paralegals, stenographers, experts, etc.) and pay for the settlement if and when that time comes. But the insurer knows money makes more money and if it can delay the payment of a claim – for whatever reason – it would have more money from which to draw a return. Ultimately the insurer is bound by contract law to pay the claim, otherwise the company will be exposed to an action for bad faith. But until that time comes – to delay is to deny. debt collection statute of limitations
The plaintiff is at the opposite end of the spectrum. He has very little money compared to insurance companies and in the case of personal injury lawsuits, are often not able to work at all. Historically, the only tool at their disposal is the ability to access the legal system through his/her attorney. The way this is done in a personal injury case is through a contingency fee arrangement (usually 33% – 40% of the recovery). Allowing attorneys to have a stake in the case’s outcome opens up the civil judicial system to many people who would otherwise not be able to pay for a lawsuit. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the deck is still stacked against plaintiffs. Lawyers and other legal service providers (lawsuit cash advance companies included) all make money from the lawsuit – at the plaintiff’s expense. However, some tools are more useful than others. There is no substitute for the attorney’s skill, experience and expertise in obtaining a “favorable” result on a lawsuit. But frequently, financial burdens lessen plaintiffs’ ability to endure the time it takes to resolve the case. As a result, plaintiffs are forced to take low ball offers of settlement just to pay some bills and get their life going again.
The whole legal process is intended to make the plaintiff whole again. But this is impossible once you factor in lawyers’ fees, expenses, time, stress and any number of other “costs”. The only way to truly fray these costs is to obtain more money.
In response to this unfortunate reality, the lawsuit funding industry began. A history lesson of the legal funding business is not the intent of this article. But the intent of lawsuit cash advances, sometimes called case loans, is to level the playing field by helping plaintiffs stay current on their expenses – whether they are electric bills or remedial surgery. By offering cash now for lawsuits prior to settlement, plaintiffs are able to withstand the stresses associated with the process and are able to refuse low ball offers. This frequently results in a larger recovery than otherwise would be available.