By now, every personal injury attorney has heard of litigation funding, the non-recourse sale of a portion of a plaintiff’s future settlement proceeds in exchange for cash today. In recent years, the availability and use of litigation funding has grown rapidly and most attorneys now recognize the need for plaintiff financial support. However, reminiscent of the criticism faced by trial attorneys over contingency fees, litigation funding companies must respond to the same disparagements. Defenders of the status quo seek to brand litigation funding as profiteering by scoundrels taking advantage of the downtrodden. They trot out such red herrings as champerty, usury and far flung theories of inherent conflicts to show how vexatious the practice really is. Despite the criticism, You know the following: plaintiffs love it; defendants hate it; it is here to stay. The lynchpin for every privilege contemplated by our founding fathers and codified in our constitution rests in one simple principle equal protection under the law. Yet today, it is the most widely used fee agreement. The contingent fee system helps to achieve the goal of equal protection by facilitating access. It is axiomatic that there can be no equal protection when access to the court system is unaffordable by a significant segment of the citizenry. Browse the below mentioned site, if you are hunting for more information about litigation finance.
The entire raison d’etre for contingency fees lies in this basic access issue. So persuasive is this point that, over the years, courts have systematically removed virtually every barrier preventing access to the court system. From contingency fees to attorney advertising to champerty, laws preventing access, in even the most indirect ways, have bitten the dust. If it were not for contingent fees, indigent victims of tortious accidents would be subject to the unbridled, self-willed partisanship of their tortfeasors. The person who has, without fault on his part, been injured and who, because of his injury, is unable to work, and has a large family to support, and has no money to engage a lawyer, would be at the mercy of the person who disabled him because, being in a superior economic position, the injuring person could force on their victim, desperately in need of money to keep the candle of life burning in himself and his dependent ones, a wholly unconscionably meager sum in settlement, or even refuse to pay him anything at all. Any society, and especially a democratic one, worthy of respect in the spectrum of civilization, should never tolerate such a victimization of the weak by the mighty. However, affording a lawyer is only one part of a plaintiff’s challenge.
A claimant must also have the ability to sustain themselves during the pendency of their action. How are financially stressed plaintiffs to sustain themselves during the pendency of their litigation which may be the cause of their financial condition in the first place. One answer is litigation funding. Being able to stay the course is a prerequisite to fair treatment and this simple transaction can help level the playing field with a well-heeled adversary. The perception is there is nothing in it for attorneys, at least not immediately or directly. Providing information to the funding company, administering the execution of the contract and observing the lien are all a nuisance for plaintiff’s counsel. However, despite this, more and more PI attorneys are forging relationships with funding companies because their clients need it, and they have found that reputable experienced companies can prove to be an invaluable resource.