Is Legal Funding Really Worth It?
Personal injury cases can end up being long, drawn-out processes. Several factors can lead to an elongated personal injury case, such as insurer’s delaying schemes, court/attorney scheduling conflicts, etc. That’s a topic for another day. The point is, it may take some time, but you deserve the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.
Unfortunately, while you’re awaiting a resolution, which could take a long time, your financial situation could turn ugly. You could be unable to work, and the compensation afforded to you before your case is resolved just isn’t enough to keep you afloat. You may have family to take care of, you may be in debt and your inability to pay off this debt is ruining your credit. The list can go on.
You may eventually get so tired of the fight that you cave into accepting a low settlement, which can damage your financial situation in the future. Especially if your injury is likely to cause further financial upheavals that weren’t accounted for. Once you accept a settlement, you forfeit the right to pursue further financial compensation. It’s almost like a “catch 22” – financial survival today verses financial survival tomorrow. It’s a decision that requires serious thought, and can cause significant stress.
This is why the industry of “legal funding” was invented roughly 2 decades ago – to help individuals in the midst of personal injury cases stay afloat in their time of need. This industry denies the claim that they’re essentially a loan service. The reason these companies deny this is because you’re not obligated to pay them back should you lose your case. But, as they say, there’s always a catch. In this case, since you’re not obligated to pay these companies back if you lose your case, they are allowed to charge extremely high interest rates. Which is why we don’t recommend legal funding unless you desperately need it. If your financial situation during a personal injury case is crippling to the point of not being able to provide for the necessities of life, it might be worth looking into…very, very meticulously.
So, we’d like to state some pros and cons of legal funding, and help you out with some pointers should you ever face the unfortunate situation of needing it.
The Pros of Legal Funding
- Since you have the money to get by, you may not have the urge to prematurely settle your case
- Legal funding can be used to make up for anything you want, such as loss of income
- It can help you from falling into a deep financial crisis that you can’t recover from
The Cons of Legal Funding
- Application fees and other hidden fees that add up
- High interest rates (as much as 60%) that accrue over time – we’ve seen individuals have to pay back 300% of the amount of money that they initially borrowed
- Interest can be compounded monthly, and if your case runs for more than a year, you could end up paying back much more then you borrowed
- Not all cases qualify – if a legal funding company believes your case won’t settle for an amount in their best interests, they will not provide funding
- These loans are not regulated like other loans, which makes it extremely difficult to compare company to company to see which is the best fit for you – even terminology differs from company website to company website, confusing potential borrowers
- Little government oversight means you could end up borrowing from a company that’s not at all reputable
So, if you are ever in desperate need of a loan because of a personal injury case and the financial problems arising, we believe you should turn elsewhere first. Could family or friends help out? Or, would you consider an installment loan? A loan from your mortgage or 401K is another last-resort resource. If legal funding is an absolute necessity, make sure you do serious research on several legal funding companies. The Better Business Bureau may be a good start – if a company isn’t listed, it’s best you stray away. Check to see if the company states the rules that govern their client relationships on their website. Be prepared with all the insight you need before even filling out an application, which could be time consuming and costly.
We hope this helps you understand more about legal funding, and that you never have to consider it. Although it can be a life saver, it can also become a wallet breaker. And we simply don’t recommend it unless it’s your only resort to afford the necessities of life.
Source: Is Legal Funding Worth It?