5 Things to Do Before You Get Legal Funding
Now that legal funding is more commonplace than it was ten years ago (the industry itself is only about 20 years old), many plaintiffs think that they should call a funding company the day of their accident. When a company declines them because of any number of reasons, they determine that their case is bad, which may not be true.
There are a few things every plaintiff can do before applying for a cash advance which will help everyone involved. Often, these will greatly increase their chances of getting funding. Here are five such suggestions:
1) Hire an attorney
This one isn’t a suggestion, it’s mandatory. No funding company will fund a person who is pro se, handling their case themselves. There are a few reasons why, but namely the risk of the funder getting paid back is much much higher without an attorney. Make sure you find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your case type and is licensed in your state.
2) Give your attorney time to familiarize herself with the case
When you sign a retainer with an attorney, that doesn’t magically infuse her with all the details of the case. There will be tests to order, documentation to request, and discussions to have. If your attorney isn’t up to speed yet on the case, it will be difficult for her to talk to a funding company about getting a loan. This is also true when you change your attorney; give the new one a little time to become familiar with the case before plunging into financing it.
3) Follow the recommendations of your doctors and your attorney
This one is very important. You may have a motor vehicle accident with great liability and a large insurance policy. You may even have a horrific injury, but if you don’t follow up with the doctors or if you miss most of your physical therapy appointments, it will not only hurt your case, it will hurt your chances of being funded.
Similarly, if the attorney has a hearing scheduled, or an appointment to ask you some questions, don’t miss it. If something extremely important comes up, talk to your attorney beforehand to reschedule. Simply missing appointments or refusing treatment your doctor is suggesting is very bad for your case.
4) Do your research
Know as much about your case type as you can. This will result in you having realistic expectations about your case, from the time it might take to settle to the settlement you might receive. Asking your attorney to have a candid discussion about it is a start. Unfortunately, many attorneys resist giving estimates to not be held to those estimates. Even if you do get ballpark figures from your attorney, look online at what other settlements in your area have hit for. Talk to people who’ve had similar accidents to see how long their cases took to resolve. Compiling all this information is helpful when trying to get funding on your case. If you unrealistically think your case is worth a million dollars when it isn’t, you’re going to have friction with almost everyone: your attorney, your doctors, and funding companies. Knowing what to expect from your case helps you manage your expectations when you try to get a cash advance on it.
5) Exhaust all other avenues
If you and your attorney are highly confident you will receive a settlement, then it’s just a matter of time. Can you realistically make it that long? Do you have some savings that you can use up for “for free”? Is your valuable vinyl collection just collecting dust? If you can’t make it on your own, do you have a friend or relative who can give you a no-interest loan? Many times this isn’t possible, but it’s worth finding out.
Only when you have exhausted your other avenues should you try funding as there are costs involved. However, you can ask around and some companies can offer you a lower rate than others to help keep the paybacks down.
Just like some plaintiffs see a lawsuit as their get-rich-quick scheme, others are starting to view lawsuit funding like that. While a cash advance is extremely helpful in some situations, knowing your case and your options before making that call can be the difference between saving your case and getting rejected.