If you are deciding how to finance your personal injury lawsuit, you probably have many questions about your funding options. You should approach your lawsuit like a business person: make an assessment of your situation based on facts with the help of experienced experts. There are five key questions you should ask as you prepare your lawsuit budget.
#1 – How much could your legal fees and expenses cost?
At your initial consultation with your lawyer, ask detailed questions about how much to expect to pay for your lawsuit. Also inquire about the firm’s payment structure. For example, will your lawyer charge you a fixed amount regardless of if you win the case? Will your lawyer charge a variable rate depending on how much work is required? Or will your lawyer take a percentage of any compensation you receive?
#2 – How does your injury affect your ability to earn income?
Ask your doctor about the possibility that your work will be affected by your injury. For example, people who have been traumatized in an accident may be physically able to return to work but find the stress of their situation means they have to take an extended leave of absence. Others may return to work after surgery only to find they need to take extra time to recover. Once on the job, many injured people might find they are not able to do the same range of activities as before their injury. If you are concerned about your income, then you should take this into account when budgeting for your lawsuit.
#3 – How much compensation do you expect to get if your lawsuit is successful?
The question is not “what do you hope to get” or “what do you think you deserve”. The question is intended for you to make an educated assessment of what is possible. Some states are more generous in awarding plaintiffs in personal injury cases than others. Therefore, it it is important to get an assessment from a lawyer familiar with the law and court system in the jurisdiction where you are filing your lawsuit. Note that even if you have a strong case, if the person you are suing does not have financial resources, you may not ever see the money you are awarded. If you are suing a government organization, large corporation or insurance company, you do not need to be as concerned the defendant declaring bankruptcy.
#4 – What are your chances of success? summons and complaint
The chance you lawsuit will be successful is based on the facts of your case and the law in your state. Again, this is not related to what is fair or what you deserve. If your chances of winning your case are low, it is much better to know up front. It can be financially devastating for a client who has been misled at the start of their lawsuit and already spent “their settlement” before their case closes – money that never comes. Your lawyer should give you an honest and upfront assessment of your case. If you think your lawyer is sugarcoating the truth, then get a second opinion.
#5 – What is the expected timeline?
Courts are notorious for taking time to process cases. You may be in line for a lot of money, but it could take months, years or even decades before you see increases in your bank account. Do you have the financial resources to stay in the game long enough?
Once you have asked these key questions, you need to make an assessment of if your current financial resources are sufficient to pay for your lawsuit and if pursuing your lawsuit is worth it. If you are in a situation where you feel pursuing your lawsuit is likely to be in your best interests but you don’t have sufficient financial resources, you may wish to look at various financing options.
Lawsuit loans are only available to people who have filed or are planning to file a legitimate lawsuit. The advantage of a lawsuit loan (also called a lawsuit advance) is that the plaintiff receives money upfront that can be used to pay for the legal expenses for the lawsuit. The lawsuit loan application is assessed solely on the strength of your case and not your income levels.
You do not need to repay a lawsuit loan in the event you do not win your case. This is a huge advantage over other forms of financing because it helps you budget. If a lawsuit loan company is willing to loan you money on the strength of your case, this is an indication that you have a case worth fighting for. After all, the lawsuit loan company is taking a risk on your case.