Often, paralegals or legal assistants deal with their client’s lawsuit funding needs. Generally, if a client has applied to many lawsuit funding companies, meeting the expectations of several funders can become a little much. This is a guide to dealing with your client’s lawsuit loan needs in a way that saves you and your office time and effort.
This guide will answer the following questions:
- What you should tell your clients before they apply?
- How to manage lawsuit loan applications?
- Protecting your client and yourself
We at Uplift hope that this article serves as a guide to make the settlement funding process quick and easy.
What to Tell Your Client About Lawsuit Funding
Lawsuit loans should be used as a last resort – they typically involve fairly high interest rates. However, lawsuit loans are non-recourse, meaning that if the case is lost, no party is personally liable for the amount borrowed.
Tell your clients to limit the amount of money they ask for from lawsuit funding companies. They should assess what they need for living expenses for the next few months, as they can always get more funding later if needed.
Make your clients aware of the work involved in processing a funders document request. Tell them to ask that funders to commit to basic terms or ranges (e.g. simple interest only or no fees) before they ask for documents. Advise them of any funders with low rates that you have worked with before.
How to Manage Lawsuit Loan Applications and Work with Funders
Sometimes a phone call can save you a lot of time. Give the funder a call and go over some basic details of the case. Often companies have certain non-starters like a high payoff, low insurance coverage, soft tissue injuries, state of residence or stage of litigation will disqualify your client.
If you decide to send documents to the funder, quickly look through your case file to see which documents most clearly illustrate the value of the case in question. Funders care about nothing more than expected value.
Compile and scan documents (as relevant or requested) on liability, most serious damages, insurance coverage and anything else important (complaint, demand letter). Err on the side of including more than less, but no need to send great detail. On medicals, just summary pages will usually suffice. If you’ve scanned the case file, it will be easy to send to other funders if they request it. Don’t get stuck doing the same work twice!
Lawsuit Loan Interest Rates: Looking Under the Hood of the Payoff Table
- Any on-contract fees will usually incur interest – make sure that your client understands the impact of fees on payback
- Make sure fees are less than 15% of total purchase price
- Look for broker or origination fees – if your client is getting a bad rate from a broker, you should advise them that it may be better to look for funding elsewhere
- Advise your client of the difference between compound and simple interest
- Show them the impact of compound interest more than a year out
- Have them ask for a payoff table with 3 years of payoff data
- Remember that a high compound interest rate (even with low or no fees) may look attractive early on, but can lead to very high payback down the road
Confidentiality and Lawsuit Funding Requests
Make sure you continue to keep confidentiality in mind when working with lawsuit funders.
- Confirm that your client has applied with any funding company that requests case files, and that they agree to have their files sent to the funder
- Often, clients will fill out several online applications and many companies will try to contact your firm. You can save a lot of time and effort by discussing the options with your client instead of just sending information on all inquiries
- Ask if the funding company acts as a broker
- Sometimes, brokers will send documents to several different parties, spreading your client’s files far and wide
- Signed HIPAA for medically sensitive cases
- You should require a signed HIPAA form before sending any documentation on pharmaceutical drugs or medical device cases
Uplift Legal Funding
Uplift Legal Funding is a trusted lawsuit funding company based in Los Angeles. At Uplift, we pride ourselves on transparency. If you have any questions, or would like to talk about working with Uplift on your plaintiff funding needs, please feel free to give us a call at (800) 385-3660.