The parallels between NFL players with brain injury lawsuits and everyone else with a brain injury lawsuit are uncanny. Especially when it comes to lawsuit loans (also called case funding). Lawsuit funding companies lend people who have personal injury lawsuits a sum of money. The company expects that the injured person will pay back the loan when their case settles or reaches a verdict.
The New York Times reported that lawsuit lending companies are circling as NFL player lawsuits involving head injuries are nearing settlement. It has been years since these brain injury lawsuits began. So long that a Hollywood movie criticizing the NFL starring Will Smith could be made in the interim.
In the mean time, these former players have had to go on with life like the rest of us. They were not shielded much from the need to pay bills. Those players without superstar money or with the most severe brain injuries suffered greatly in the interim. We wrote previously about how brain injuries are a factor in causing homelessness. They are just like everyone else who has a brain injury that prevents them from working and getting on with a normal life. Just like every other injured person who cannot work, these former athletes have little to fall back on if they have no personal savings. The former players did what many people who do when their bills mounted up, they had trouble working, and suffered brain injuries. They got loans against their lawsuits with interest rates “of 40 percent or higher.”
Now that the settlements are coming close, the loans are also coming due.Such high interest rates are not uncommon. The interest rates sometimes compound so that each month the compounding interest grows many times the size of the principle. A $5,000 loan will balloon into $15,000 in a year or two–before the case resolves. At the end of the lawsuit, the verdict or settlement that was supposed to make up for the harm will go to the lending company.
As wrong and misguided as tort reform is, the tort reformers criticize lawsuit funding as much as attorneys who represent people who are hurt and who suffered deaths in their families by negligence. Both sides see lawsuit lending companies as taking advantage of people who are in need. Lawsuit lending has largely continued though and with little restriction or regulation.
If you think you need lawsuit funding, speak with your attorney first to discuss other options. Your lawyer is paid to guide you and act in your best interest. The lawsuit funding company is not.