How To Manage Your Expectations in Lawsuit Funding
Have you applied for a lawsuit funding loan only to be turned down or approved for way less than you thought you would? Then when you tried another company, you were told the same thing? Your attorney told you your case could be worth millions! How could these companies not get that?
Well, there are many reasons why a funding company would behave differently than you’d expect. Here are a few things you can do so that you aren’t wasting valuable time treading the unfamiliar waters of legal funding.
Make sure your state and case type are able to be considered
While most case types and most states don’t present a problem, there are a few out there that can be problematic for funders. What’s worse, some companies will fund in a difficult state while others won’t, so there isn’t even one list of “good” entities. If one company denies your case type, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad case. Try another company – but make it clear up front that you have this unusual case type or state so you aren’t wasting your time or theirs. Being denied for these reasons doesn’t mean anything about the value of your case; sometimes, funders just can’t consider them for some other reason.
Research Your Case Type
Thousands of people before you have gone through your exact situation, whether you had a motor vehicle accident in FL or you have an unpaid wage claim in NY. There are records online that show what lawsuits have settled for. If you see that someone with similar injuries to you in the same area got a $50,000 settlement, it’s probably not likely that you’ll get $2,000,000. Similarly, if your state tends to settle cases that have your injury and a funder tells you that they feel it won’t settle, then it is probably worth getting it evaluated by another funder.
I give this warning, though. Take things you read on the internet with a grain of salt. Many things you read are really just sales pitches, so the information may not be 100% accurate. Try to get information from a few sources.
Learn About Your Specific Case
A funder might approve you for a small amount on a motor vehicle case where you had a broken leg. Your attorney told you the case would settle for the full policy limit! Why are they only giving you a small amount? Well, there could be many reasons. Let’s say the policy limit in your case is $100k/$300k. Don’t walk away thinking you’ll get $300,000 (that’s the total amount that can be given out in one claim, but only $100,000 is available for each plaintiff). Then let’s assume there were 4 other people in the car. They all have to get paid too out of that $300,000. Then, even if you were the most injured, maybe the surgery you had was put on a lien and the hospital needs to be paid.
A funder offering you a lower amount than you expected doesn’t mean they don’t like your case, there are simply more factors at-play.
A demand letter isn’t a settlement offer
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a client say that their case is worth $250k because that’s how much their attorney is asking for. What your attorney demands is not the same thing as your case value. It CAN be, of course, but that isn’t a given. Quite often cases settle out for less than the attorney demands, and that lower amount is STILL a reasonable payment for your pain and suffering.
Your attorney may be looking at your case with rose-colored glasses
This isn’t about your attorney lying to you. In fact, many attorneys won’t even give a case value to your case before it settles. But in an attorney’s brain, she may be thinking of a ‘best case scenario’ when talking about the value or the timeframe of your case. If she says your case should be done in a year, she may very well think so at the time, but new obstacles may delay that. Medical reports may show negative (or even positive) developments that will change the potential value or timeline of your case.
An attorney won’t take a case that he thinks has zero chance of settling, but he may be convinced your case is better than it is because he assumes everything will go right. If a funder offers you a smaller amount than what you thought, it might be time to modify your expectations.
Funders can be wrong, but so can attorneys. The important thing for you is to have realistic expectations for both your lawsuit and your funding loan. A sprained ankle on a slip and fall has never resulted in a $10mm settlement. Knowing more about other cases like yours, about your cases in particular, and about your attorney can help you keep expectations realistic when moving forward. Realistic expectations can reduce or eliminate disappointment altogether.