Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: May 7, 2023 4:20am CDT
On average, spending three days in the hospital costs about $30,000. People who are injured in accidents or by other people’s negligence can quickly rack up thousands of dollars in unexpected bills and expenses.
While civil lawsuits can result in money for such costs, bills will often start to come due long before plaintiffs can expect to see a fair settlement or trial award. Pre-settlement funding can provide plaintiffs with the cash they need while they and their attorney see their cases through to the end.
But how does applying for pre-settlement funding work? Do you need a lawyer? Can your lawyer prevent you from getting funding if you need it? Here’s what you need to know.
What Role Does Your Attorney Play in Getting Pre-Settlement Funding?
One of the most common pre-settlement funding questions plaintiffs ask is, “why do I need a lawyer before I can apply for legal funding?””
To understand the role attorneys play in getting pre-settlement funding, it’s important you first understand two pre-settlement funding concepts:
- What is pre-settlement funding?
- What pre-settlement funding is not?
You receive damages or compensation when you win a civil lawsuit. You receive a settlement when you make a deal with the liable party outside of court. You can use that money to pay:
- Your attorney
- Medical bills
- Living expenses
- Other costs as you see fit
Pre-settlement funding is not:
Pre-settlement funding is not a loan, even if people call as a “pre-settlement loan.”(However, in some states like Missouri and Illinois, you can only legally receive settlement loans).
Pre-settlement funding is:
Pre-settlement funding is a cash advance on the money you expect to receive if you win or settle your case. When your attorney successfully settles or wins your claim, some of the money from your court award or settlement goes to repay the funding company, so you never have to pay out of your pocket.
To qualify for pre-settlement funding, you must be in the process of pursuing monetary compensation for your injuries and damages. Lawsuit funding companies cannot provide you with a settlement cash advance without a potential settlement or trial award.
Having a claim or lawsuit for your loss is only one of two main requirements for a pre-settlement advance. Having an attorney representing you is the other requirement needed to receive funding.
How Your Attorney Can Stop You From Getting Funding
While having an attorney is the first step toward getting funding, it is not a guarantee of success. To complete the application process, you must have your attorney or an authorized member of their law firm staff speak to the funding company.
You may think this extra step is an unnecessary delay, but it is a safeguard built into the pre-settlement funding process to protect and benefit you, the client.
Speaking to your attorney ahead of time enables the funding company to ensure that your legal counsel is aware of your application and the amount of funding you can qualify for. Your attorney should help with the following:
- Advise how much money you can safely accept without negatively impacting your case
- Provide the funding company with when they propose the most effective time for your settlement funding.
- Provide information on the recommended amount and for your pre-settlement advance.
Together, these things can result in your attorney getting you the fairest and the largest settlement or trial award.
However, your attorney’s important role means that they can prevent you from getting much-needed funding by not speaking with funding companies when you have requested that they do so.
What You Can Do
What can you do if your lawyer does not answer or call back the funding company and prevents you from receiving pre-settlement funding? The first step is to call your attorney.
Explain to your lawyer:
- That they must speak with the funding company about your case
- What financial pressures are leading you to seek pre-settlement funding at this time
- What you believe the consequences will be if you do not get funding
Keep in mind that your attorney works for you, so they must hear you out and address your concerns.
In many cases, making this phone call is enough to resolve the problem. Your attorney may agree to make the call and speak to the legal funding company of your choosing.
If your attorney has concerns or objections to your receiving legal funding, a phone call is an excellent way to discuss those thoughts with you. They can then help you identify options or alternatives for moving forward that you can both agree on.
Pre-settlement Funding FAQs
Plaintiffs often have questions about pre-settlement funding before they are ready to go to their attorneys. Here are some of the most common questions and their answers.
Q: Is Pre-settlement Funding a Loan?
A: No. Although pre-settlement funding is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “lawsuit loan,” it is not a form of a loan. It is a cash advance on the court-awarded money or settlement cash you expect to receive from your civil lawsuit.
Q: How Much Money Can You Get in Pre-settlement Funds?
A: The amount of money you qualify for depends on the details of your case. Each plaintiff’s claim is unique to them, so funding companies keep that in mind. Also, just because you can only start with a specific funding amount doesn’t mean you can’t get a larger funding amount in a week. Receiving good news on your case goes a long way with a funding company, which means it is always a realistic option to apply for more funding as your lawsuit develops.
Q: How Long Does it Take to Get Funding Once Approved?
A: Most applicants receive their funds within 24 hours of approval. Pre-settlement funding can be one of the fastest and safest ways to handle your financial needs while your case works its way through the legal process.
Q: What Happens if I Lose My Case?
A: If you lose your case, the settlement money advanced to you is yours to keep. In loan states like Missouri and Illinois, we have never required repayment for a loss case and do not plan to.
Get the full scoop on how to apply and what to expect in our pre-settlement funding guide now.
Or, check out our blog for more information on lawsuit funding cases and other pre-settlement funding-related topics.