Until you became a plaintiff in a lawsuit, you probably did not pay much attention to terms like “plaintiff funding,” “lawsuit loan” and/or “legal funding.” Now, if you’re struggling to make ends meet before your settlement arrives, your settlement will be a welcome relief. Until then, however, bills still have to get paid. It’s important to know where to start if you’re thinking about applying for funding.
Many companies in the for-profit plaintiff-funding industry have historically taken advantage of the individuals in this exact situation. At the Bairs Foundation, we believe that funding litigants and their families is a necessary part of Americans’ access to justice.
We have paged through the FAQ pages created by many companies in the unregulated, for-profit non-recourse lending industry. We’ve started a series of our own answers, which we hope will do two things: show how our non-profit organization, the Bairs Foundation, is changing the model of non-recourse advances, and make sure the public is properly educated and empowered when it comes to pre-settlement funding.
If you have a question we have not yet addressed, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is the fourth in a series of blog posts about legal funding for plaintiffs.
How Much Money Can I Borrow?
Some companies say on their website that they will provide cash advances from $500 to $500,000.00. Some encourage plaintiffs to apply for as much as they want as often as they want.
At the Bairs Foundation, we’re careful about the amount we provide plaintiffs and their families, because we know that any amount will cost them in the long-term. That’s why we thoroughly discuss each person’s individual situation and needs and come up with a reasonable and realistic ask amount. That way, you’re asking for just what you need. And, as always, we charge seven percent simple interest on our advances.
Who Can Apply for Plaintiff Funding?
Any plaintiff involved in a pending civil lawsuit who is represented by an attorney can apply for funding if they need financial help before their settlement arrives.
Do I Need to Have Good Credit To Obtain Funding?
Since non-recourse funding isn’t a loan, applicants do not need to have good credit to receive an advance. We will not check your credit.
Are there Upfront Fees to Apply for a Cash Advance?
Many companies explain they do not charge a fee upfront for funding applicants, but this is not entirely accurate. They may not charge you to apply. However, once your application has been approved, many companies will charge any combination of assorted fees, including but not limited to “handling fees,” fees for overnight delivery of paperwork or advances, wire transfer fees, priority processing with electronic signatures, ongoing case servicing and management fees, fees for subsequent case review for additional funding requests, and fees for archiving and managing documents per each funding request. Others tack on a “review fee” after plaintiffs win their case.
At the Bairs Foundation, we only charge one simple, straightforward application fee. And you only need to pay it back at the end of your lawsuit, if you receive a settlement.
Do I Have to Pay Back the Money I Borrow if I Lose My Case?
No. A non-recourse agreement means the borrower is not liable for paying back the advance if he or she does not obtain a recovery in the lawsuit. Unfortunately, that risk is why many companies charge a staggering interest rate.
Those who obtain an advance from the Bairs Foundation do not have to pay back that money if they lose their case. If they obtain a settlement, we only charge seven percent simple interest.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? ASK THE BAIRS FOUNDATION FOUNDER JOHN BAIR
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process. Motivated by a desire to assist others in protecting their financial well-being, John and his wife Amy established the Bairs Foundation. At seven percent simple interest, the organization provides the financial assistance families need during litigation. Read more at http://www.bairsfoundation.org/.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).