If you’ve been injured and someone else is at fault, you may be able to file and win a personal injury lawsuit.
Unfortunately, this is not as simple as it sounds. The first step is a consultation with an attorney who practices this type of law. He or she will review your situation and determine if you have a viable case. If you do, you can hire the lawyer to represent you throughout the ensuing process. Among other things, he or she will gather all of the evidence that must be presented in court. To win the case and get a judgment against the responsible party, there must be enough proof of the following:
- Someone else caused the accident
- They did so by engaging in careless or reckless behavior; and
- The injuries you sustained stemmed from the accident in question.
The whole process — from the time you first consult an attorney to the time you secure a judgment for financial compensation at trial — can take months or even years. If you are unable to work because of your injuries, this can put you — and your family — under considerable financial strain.
In reality, however, very few personal injury cases relative to the number that are filed ever go to trial. Instead, most of these matters are resolved through a negotiated settlement between your lawyer and the responsible party’s insurance company. Since insurance companies are notorious for dragging their feet, even reaching a settlement can take months.
Receiving a settlement can help you get back on track after an accident by covering medical bills, lost wages, and any other charges you may have incurred. However, routine expenses and medical bills while waiting for a possible settlement can add up, especially if you are unable to work due to your injuries. Fortunately, there are many financial companies that offer pre-settlement funding that can help you cover those types of routine personal expenses while waiting for your settlement.
How do accident loans work?
First, the term accident loans can be misleading. In actuality, the help you are seeking is pre-settlement funding, which in some cases does come in the form of a loan. In most states, you are assigning a portion of the pending proceeds from your legal claim, which is different than a loan.
The process of getting an accident loan or pre-settlement funding is fairly simple. There are only two basic requirements. First, you must be an accident victim with a pending legal claim. Second, you must be represented by an attorney. If you meet these requirements, you can fill out an application on a funding company’s website. You should be prepared to provide information about yourself, the accident, your injuries, and your lawyer.
The provider will then look into the details of your case, with the help of your attorney, to determine whether you qualify and how much funding you can get. Ideally, the funding company’s review will conclude that you have a strong case with substantial value and a good probability of a successful outcome.
This is because the funding company assumes significant risk if it agrees to provide funding against a judgment or settlement in your case. After all, there is no guarantee of success. There is always a chance you may lose at trial, your attorney may not be able to negotiate a settlement for case value, or the judgment may not be enough to cover all applicable deductions. Lawsuit loan companies mitigate this risk by accepting only the strongest applications for approval. Additionally, a good funding company will make sure the plaintiff is getting a fair portion of their award/settlement.
Once you’ve been approved, they will transfer the money to you via a wire or a check. Then, you can use the money to pay for any relevant expenses, such as medical bills, your rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries, car payments and so on. The only thing you can’t use the funds for is to pay for your legal costs and expenses. Once your case is settled, you will repay the funding company along with any interest and/or fees directly from your settlement.
Am I responsible for repayment if I lose my case?
Most pre-settlement or lawsuit funding is advertised as “non-recourse” lending. Technically this means you are not responsible for repayment if you lose your case. But before you accept pre-settlement funding, you must sign a contract, called a funding agreement. This contract specifies what happens if you lose your case or get a settlement or judgment for less than case value. This agreement will also specify what happens if there is not enough money in your settlement or judgment to repay the funding company.
Depending on the language, the funding company may only be able to claim the remaining amount after the deduction of attorney fees, medical lien repayments and other applicable deductions. In other cases, the funding company will work out an arrangement with you to make up the difference. As with any agreement, you should make sure you understand its terms.
When should I consider filing a lawsuit over an accident?
There are a number of instances in which you may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. These include but are not limited to:
- Vehicle accidents. The term “vehicle accidents” or “motor vehicle accidents” is an umbrella term used for practical and statistical purposes. It includes motorcycle accidents, accidents involving motor vehicles and even pedestrian accidents. Collectively, these account for the most common types of personal injury cases filed in United States courts. The reason is simple: they often result in serious injuries. If you were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to pursue a bodily injury settlement in addition to an insurance payout. In this instance, the lawsuit would cover medical care as well as property damage from the incident.
- Injuries on property accessible to the public. If you were injured as a result of poorly maintained public property, you may have a case for a lawsuit. This is also true if you were injured in a retail store, restaurant, or any other private property that is licensed for public use. Some common instances of this are slipping and falling on poorly maintained stairs or floors, or injuries resulting from ceiling collapses.
These are the two most common reasons to file an injury lawsuit, but there are many other cases which may qualify. If you have been injured in any way at the hands of another party, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to get their perspective on the situation. You might be surprised by how much legal power you have as the injured party. If another person’s negligence caused the accident in which you were hurt, you have a legal right to compensation for financial, physical and emotional losses associated with your injury.
If needed, pre-settlement funding is one way to help cover your medical costs and any other financial challenges that come up in the short term as you deal with the fallout from the injury and wait for your settlement.
Is pre-settlement funding safe?
For years, critics have claimed that the lawsuit lending industry is a predatory endeavor. Specifically, they have asserted that lenders have taken advantage of vulnerable people by charging exorbitant interest and fees. They have also called for government intervention and regulation of the industry, arguing that the industry has been unable to police this conduct.
Some states have heeded this call and outlawed lawsuit lending altogether. In others, reputable funding companies have taken steps to promote accountability and honest business practices, through trade groups like the Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding. In fact, in some states, funding companies are licensed and subject to clear disclosure requirements. Oasis is proud to be one of the leaders in this effort. In recognition for our hard work, we have received superior ratings from both Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau.
Most importantly, we have helped thousands of accident victims get the financial relief they need while awaiting the financial compensation they deserve.
Oasis provides pre-settlement funding, also known as consumer litigation funding, to its customers through different products depending on their state of residence or cause of action. Many consumers will be provided pre-settlement funding in the form of a purchase agreement, which assigns a portion of the pending proceeds from their legal claim. Other consumers, such as those in CO, IL, MN, MO, SC, WI and some OK residents, will be offered a funding in the form of a pre-settlement loan, sometimes referred to as a lawsuit loan. These transactions have important differences, therefore, consumers should carefully review and be aware of the type of transaction that is offered to them by any funding company.