Why would I want a pre-settlement advance?
If you have been wronged by the negligence or wrongful behavior of a company, you know how costly this can be. It can disrupt your life and your income. It is expensive to defend your rights and recover the money you lost. Even if your attorney agrees to a contingent fee (where he is paid only if you win), pursuing a lawsuit can be costly.
Unfortunately, regardless of how deserving you might be, it can take a long time for you to recover money in a lawsuit. The average commercial lawsuit takes 18 months from start to finish. Many wronged people find themselves in a difficult position. They have suffered big losses and have to wait a long time to recover those losses. Of course, your daily expenses, your house payment, your car payment, and your children’s needs can’t wait.
Why would someone give me an advance?
You might wonder why an investor would give you a cash advance on your settlement or verdict if there is a chance that it won’t be repaid because you might lose your case. Investors know that there are many plaintiffs who leave cash on the table when negotiating settlements with defendants. They also know that a modest advance early in the case can make the difference between a small settlement and a big win. They know that, in most of the cases where they pay an advance, they will receive their money back plus a fee. Yes, they will lose their advances in some cases; but overall they will make a profit.
How is this different from a loan?
Some people like to call pre-settlement advances “lawsuit loans,” or they compare them to payday loans. This is misleading. In a loan, the borrower always has to repay the lender the amount of the loan plus interest. When you take a loan, you are making a personal guarantee that you will repay the borrower.
In a presettlement advance, the guarantee of repayment comes from the value of your lawsuit, not from you personally. When you receive a pre-settlement advance, you repay the investor only if you win your case or get a settlement. If you receive nothing from your lawsuit, you pay nothing back. And if you receive only a small settlement or recovery, the investor will be paid only if there is something left over after your lawyer has been paid.
What happens if I lose my case?
If you lose your case, you don’t have to repay your investor. As explained above, the money you receive from the investor is a non-recourse advance. The investor’s right to repayment depends on the outcome of your lawsuit, not on your personal promise. If the lawsuit does not produce a recovery, the investor cannot demand repayment.