The word ‘litigation’ describes a lawsuit’s legal proceedings. People who are involved in lawsuits use litigation funding to cover the cost of legal proceedings, including the fees of lawyers who work on cases. Frequently, these fees are linked to case results, so they might increase in the event of a successful outcome, and be reduced — or scrapped completely — when things don’t go to plan. Litigation can be funded through the pre-settlement process with different kinds of loans, and these might be linked to case results as well.
Most of the time, lawsuits are costly things to proceed with. Suffice to say, lawyers do not work for free, and case-related fees are usually expensive. Parties might have to wait years or months for final rulings or settlements. And, during this period, victims might face financial hardship if the lawsuit relates to an accident. Litigation funding can offer flexibility and court access to people who would be unable to afford it otherwise.
In some cases, like those involving personal injury, a plaintiff might find a lawyer who can work for a contingency fee. In this situation, the lawyer will receive part of the awarded amount as payment for their work. This means that the lawyer will not be paid if the plaintiff is awarded no money. Until the case is concluded, the law firm covers all the litigation costs. Lawyers will not always agree to work under these arrangements though, or they might charge additional expenses. In such circumstances, litigation funding has to be sourced elsewhere.
Legal aid is a well-known form of litigation funding. This is nonprofit or public money used to help people from low incomes in court cases. Lots of communities have legal aid clinics that provide legal representation and counseling to some clients. Typically, these services are funded by charitable donations and tax dollars. Private companies that offer lawsuit funding tend to operate in a different manner. Where legal aid groups advise and subsequently represent clients for a small fee, or no fee at all, private funding companies operate like lenders. They cover the cost of a lawsuit but do not involve themselves in the process itself.
There are a number of companies that provide options for litigation funding. A lawsuit loan, or pre-settlement funding, is one such option especially if you’re case is settled and you need funding now. The rules that govern these popular types of loans vary from one jurisdiction to another. To be eligible for a lawsuit loan, most people require a pending personal injury claim that is yet to reach litigation, or that has been ruled in their favor and is due to a settlement payout. Usually, the client, lender, and client\’s lawyer will sign a contract. The contract terms should be studied carefully because they can differ significantly by location. In some American states, there are particular terms that lawsuit loan contracts have to contain. Examples include the right to change your mind or rescind, within a week of signing the agreement.
In contrast to other types of loans, lawsuit loans are often repaid from the compensation received from a personal injury claim. Therefore, borrowers are not obliged to pay back these loans if they are not awarded compensation. For this reason, lenders are cautious about offering loans of this kind, because they need reassuring that a payout is imminent. Most of the time, the lawyer representing the plaintiff will have to consult with the lender, to discuss the likelihood of a successful case outcome.
Lawsuit loan costs also differ, depending on the jurisdiction the case is brought in. In the majority of states, interest is charged on the loaned amount every six months. Notwithstanding, some states restrict the interest that can be added to these loans, to stop lenders profiting from people who are in difficult circumstances. This form of litigation funding has high associated fees. People should speak to their lawyers and ensure that they fully understand the total fees applicable, before signing a contract.
There is a range of factors that determine how much a plaintiff can borrow from a lawsuit loan provider. The calculation is far simpler in circumstances where the plaintiff is waiting to receive an agreed settlement, compared to circumstances where a settlement is not yet agreed. In the latter scenario, the loan calculation will center on the case’s estimated value. The case’s estimated value takes into account the quantity of actual damages, like medical expenses, that the plaintiff has along with other elements, to forecast what the case should settle for once a verdict is reached.
Occasionally, law firms use private lenders to access litigation funding even if it’s for a federal case. This occurs most often in the sector of plaintiff rights. In some states, plaintiffs lawyers regularly offer to work for a contingency fee to gain clients. As already stated, this means that they will not receive payment until a settlement is issued by the court. These types of arrangements normally benefit plaintiffs but are financially challenging for law firms.
Firms that have not been around for decades and do not have surplus funds might struggle to pay their staff and overheads, while they wait for payment. Litigation funding is a lifeline for firms like these, because it allows them to serve more clients simultaneously and grow their business. The fees and conditions of litigant funding for law firms usually differ from litigant funding for individuals. This is why litigation funding providers tend to concentrate on specific types of clients.
Anyone who requires litigation funding should familiarize themselves with the ways to access the funds they are entitled to. For instance, it might be possible to access funds from certain kinds of pension plans, insurance policies, or other investments. With work-related injury claims, a person might be eligible for benefits associated with worker\’s compensation, like funding for any required legal action.
Personal loans are another popular litigation funding option. Sometimes, people who have a history of good credit can access unsecured, low-interest loans especially if it’s a medical funding advance they need for their court case. This could be a sensible route if the rate of interest is lower than it is with lawsuit loans and other kinds of funding, like credit card cash advances. Additional types of litigation funding could include borrowing from relatives or using real estate equity.
This kind of financing has been used for over two decades and is becoming an increasingly common solution that equalizes access to the justice system. Time after time, litigants who want to fight for their rights have been unable to do so, because of the expensive nature of lawsuits. Many plaintiffs with compelling cases have opted to delay or forgo legal action. Litigation funding enables lawsuits to be assessed on merit, and not be determined by who has the biggest bank account or greater tolerance for prolonged litigation.