Lawsuit Loans

Content Provide by LawLeaf, a lawsuit funding company.

A lawsuit loan is a non recourse cash advance against a pending lawsuit or a case that has recently reached a settlement. Lawsuit loans are provided to plaintiffs that want to borrow against future proceeds from a personal injury or commercial dispute. Unlike a standard bank loan, if the plaintiff loses their case, they don’t have to pay back the lender.

How can you qualify for a lawsuit loan?

There are several factors in qualifying for a lawsuit loan:

  • A person must be represented by a lawyer.
  • A person must be the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Companies will not provide advances do the defense.
  • The representing attorney must submit paperwork to the lender on your behalf. This paperwork is known as case documentation.
  • After reviewing the documentation, the lender must believe liability exists and the plaintiff will win the lawsuit.

Why do people apply for lawsuit loans?

There are many reasons why some plaintiffs secure lawsuit loans:

  • The plaintiff in the case has lost their job or wages resulting from an accident.
  • The insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement on the case.
  • The plaintiff is not interested in settling for less money and a lawsuit loan is the only way to hold out for a better offer.
  • The case has recently been appealed by the defense and the plaintiff has run out of all other financial options.
  • A person may need money for investment purposes or for a down payment on a home.
  • A person may need to pay down medical expenses or need money for additional treatments.
  • A person may need money to help pay for living expenses while waiting for a settlement.

How quickly does it take to get a lawsuit loan?

When a person applies for a lawsuit loan they must be aware that the process can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days. In order to get the process moving along the lender will need to immediately request the appropriate documentation from your attorney. Once the documentation is received, a lender should be able to underwrite the loan within a few hours. If the case is complex it could take several days, as some lenders may need to outsource the underwriting process to someone more specialized in the lawsuit.

For additional information on lawsuit loans, visit LawLeaf today.

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Settlement Funding

This content is unique and provided by LawLeaf, a lawsuit funding company.

Settlement funding has become very popular over the last several years due to a diminishing economy & a rising unemployment rate. To begin understanding lawsuit settlement funding we first need to understand how it works. Lawsuit settlement funding is a cash advance against a pending or already settled lawsuit. This means you can receive a lawsuit cash advance against a case that is going through the litigation process or has already been settled or awarded by a jury or judge.

Settlement funding should never be confused as a loan. While we may refer to settlement funding as a lawsuit loan it’s not exactly a loan. Lawsuit funding is provided as a non recourse advance / loan. This means if you happen to lose a case you will not have to repay the company that provided the advance. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and received settlement funding, you will only be obligated to pay back the advance if you win compensation. If you end up losing the case, you owe nothing.

Settlement funding is used by plaintiffs and attorneys. We often refer to it as litigation financing when money is provided to the attorney. Settlement funding is provided through various funding sources. The most common funding source is usually a hedge fund. A hedge fund for litigation financing is created by the fund manager and set-up to loan money on a non recourse basis to attorneys and plaintiffs; typically for personal injury and commercial litigation claims. A fund will typically specialize in an area of law which their underwriters are most comfortable underwriting. It is very common that a fund will provide only one or the other.

The money typically comes from investors and approvals typically come from the underwriter of the file. An underwriter will review the claim and determine whether its fundable through the documents presented by the attorney. If the case is good a funder may be willing to loan a percentage of the expected proceeds.

For more information on settlement funding, please visit LawLeaf online.

Life Settlement: Legal Aspects of Selling an Insurance Policy

A life settlement can be defined as the sale of an existing insurance policy by a policy holder. The policy holder may consider the sale of their insurance policy because they no longer need the policy, need money for family reasons or no longer can pay the premiums on the policy.

Over the last several years private investors have dumped trillions of dollars into life settlement tools. The money is primarily used to purchase life insurance policies of seniors ages 65 and over. Depending upon the fund, people may sell policies ranging from $50,000 and up. When a person decides on a life settlement they will sell their policy with the understanding once the policy holder dies, the investment company or hedge fund will receive the face value of the policy.

When a person decides to sell their life insurance policy they essentially have two different options. They can sell the insurance policy back to the original company or seek the assistance of a life settlement company willing to shop their case amongst a group of buyers. These buyers are the hedge funds, some banks and private investors.

The policy holder will oftentimes look for the company that can provide them the amount closest to the face value of the policy. This means more money for the policy. The insurance company will oftentimes spend about 10% to purchase the policy back, while life settlement companies tend to offer a significant higher payout for the same policy.

The legal aspect of a life settlement follows:
Should it be legal to purchase another’s insurance policy?
Does the insurance industry have legal recourse to stop these types of buyouts?

While some people purchase life insurance for their siblings many people use their policies for investment and tax purposes. The idea that a company can provide a life settlement to an individual is legal. In fact by allowing companies to provide life settlements for their clients could ultimately increase the number of policies being written on a yearly basis. There is more incentive to purchase life insurance if the consumer understands they may be able to sell their policy at a higher face value later.

While the insurance industry frowns upon companies that purchase life settlements they currently have no legal recourse at this time. Many consumers first contact the insurance company prior to dealing with a life settlement broker. After reviewing the settlement offer from the insurance company the consumer may decide the payoff is much too low. As a result the consumer may deal directly with a broker than can get double or even triple the offer from the insurance company.

The legal aspect of a life settlement is fair enterprise. The life settlement industry in some aspects is no different than the mortgage industry. If there are companies that can offer you more money for your life insurance policy the consumer should have the ability to shop for the higher cash value.

Content written By Jeffery Grawbowski: For more information on legal issues visit our website

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish:

“Saving Costs” During Contract Formation Can Mean Big Litigation Bills Later

By Andrew M. Apfelberg, Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff

In today’s uncertain financial climate, many businesspeople have deliberately avoided involving their attorneys in the negotiation and documentation of deals. Reasons given have included, “Well, it is not that big of a transaction,” or, “It seems simple enough, so there is no need to consult with a lawyer.” But the real factor driving the decision to avoid legal involvement is one thing and one thing only: money.

While no one ever relishes the idea of paying a lawyer, the degree to which businesspeople are circumventing legal fees has dramatically increased during these less-than-booming economic times. For many middle-market companies, spending money to have a lawyer draft or review a business agreement is often perceived as a luxury that can be foregone when belts need to be tightened. Initially, eliminating $5,000 to $10,000 in legal fees sounds like a fantastic idea. However, what many businesspeople fail to consider is that they will inevitably have to deal with these agreements over the long-term and, without assistance from an attorney, significant fees can be incurred if a business deal goes south—ultimately costing a company thousands of dollars.

Take, for example, the example of Acme Skin Care Company*. In earlier, better economic times, Acme and Star Manufacturing Inc. signed an agreement drafted by Acme’s lawyer that explained Star’s relationship with Acme as an “exclusive supplier” of certain component elements of Acme’s products. After several years, a principal of Star met with Acme’s president to discuss the continuing relationship. By then, times were tougher financially, and in order to keep costs down Acme left its lawyer out of those discussions. Instead, in a private meeting with Star, Acme’s president hand-wrote what he believed to be a minor modification to the company’s original agreement with Star. Then, he and Star signed the handwritten “modification.”

After approximately one year, Acme’s relationship with Star began to sour. Star began demanding strict “compliance” with the “modification,” which Star asserted was a wholly separate deal. Acme decided to terminate its relationship with Star by providing 30 days notice as permitted under their original agreement. Star promptly filed suit, claiming the “modification” was a separate agreement for a fixed 10-year term with no provision allowing for early termination. Star claimed $10 million in damages, leaving Acme no choice but to defend the lawsuit. In the first few months of litigation alone, Acme spent more than $50,000 to defend against Star’s claims. Today, Acme’s counsel estimates that it will spend at least another $150,000 before the case is closed, with no guarantee of success.

So, how exactly did Acme get into this position? The problem lies with the actual wording of the “modification.” Read literally, that document—consisting of only five short paragraphs—said nothing about Acme’s prior agreement with Star and contained no mention of any right to terminate the relationship on 30 days notice or otherwise. On the other hand, it did mention a 10-year term and contained other language suggesting the “modification” was, in fact, a separate agreement.

Although Acme may have originally intended otherwise, the document read in a way that was favorable to Star, and, not surprisingly, Star then claimed that the document contained clear contract language that accurately stated the intention of the parties.

The difficulty for Acme in defending against Star was that California courts—and many state courts applying similar statutes—try to interpret contracts based solely on the written language contained in the document without looking to other evidence. The California Civil Code, for instance, provides that:

• The language of a contract is to govern its interpretation, if the language is clear and explicit, and does not involve an absurdity. §1638.
• When a contract is reduced to writing, the intention of the parties is to be ascertained by the writing alone, if possible; . . . §1639.

Most states adhere strictly to written terms in order to discourage situations like the one in which Acme now finds itself, where the document says one thing but the opposite party argues it means another. By holding parties to the apparent meaning of the specific words used in the document, the courts force parties during contract formation to express clearly and completely their intent in writing within the actual four corners of the document.

Does this mean that Acme stands no chance of success in the litigation with Star? No, there are additional rules of contract interpretation other than the “bare bones” rules. But the important lesson to be learned is that it has already cost Acme five to 10 times more to litigate its dispute with Star than it would have cost to have a lawyer simply draft or review the “modification” in the first place.

To avoid the kind of problem Acme now faces, a company must make sure that both parties clearly understand the general terms of a business transaction. The parties may even want to prepare an explicitly non-binding term sheet outlining the potential deal, before immediately hiring a lawyer.

Next, a company should discuss with the attorney, in detail, its relationship with the other party, explaining past history; identifying any prior agreements; explaining specific goals for the transaction and desired strategy for negotiation; and identifying each material term of the deal. After a formal contract is prepared, both sides must read it front to back, and word for word. A lawyer can then explain any difficult-to-understand terms and define words that may have legal significance beyond their typical, everyday meaning.

Above all, business executives must remember that if a deal goes south, they will be held to what the document actually says, and not to what they may have “meant” or “understood.” And if both parties involved decide later that they want to alter the deal, they must ensure that each change is put in writing and reviewed by a lawyer before it is signed.

As for costs, wouldn’t any savvy businessperson rather spend $5,000 now rather than $200,000 down the line?

* Company names have been changed to protect privacy

About the Author: Andrew M. Apfelberg is a corporate transactional attorney for privately held middle-market companies. He represents clients as their day-to-day general counsel and in significant transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, financings, joint ventures, licensing, entity formation, agreements between shareholders and the establishment of manufacturing facilities in Mexico. He is a partner of Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Incorporated, a full service law firm in Century City (www.rutterhobbs.com). The firm provides comprehensive transactional and litigation services to companies, their principals and entrepreneurs. Apfelberg’s clients benefit from his strong business and finance background gained from working for investment banks prior to attending law school. This experience enables him to more effectively structure transactions and negotiate agreements to maximize the return to the client and increase the likelihood of getting the deal closed. He was awarded the most coveted AV rating through Martindale-Hubbell, and was selected as a “Super Lawyer” in the field of Business Law by Law & Politics in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The Top Ten Questions About Event Data Recorders (Vehicle Black Boxes)

What are Event Data Recorders?

Event Data Recorders (EDRs) are electronic devices, commonly called Black Boxes, that are installed in motor vehicles. EDRs have the ability to record information about what a vehicle did before, during and immediately after a traffic crash. EDRs are generally part of a vehicle’s Airbag Control Module or Powertrain Control Module.

Do all vehicles have EDR’s?

No. However, the majority of vehicles currently manufactured have some type of EDR installed in them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that by 2010, at least 85 % of all vehicles manufactured will have EDRs.

Do all EDRs record the same information?

No. Currently, the circumstances under which an EDR records and the type of data recorded is contingent upon the year, make, and model of the vehicle. An EDR can be configured to record a variety of data including, but not limited to, information about how a vehicle’s airbag and restraint system functioned as well as pre-crash speed, brake use or throttle application.

Do any EDRs record the date, time, and geographic location of an accident?

No. While many vehicles have the ability to monitor the date, time and their location through onboard navigation systems or global positioning systems, no EDRs are currently configured to record said information in the event of an accident.

Can EDRs record if the vehicle is turned off?

No. EDRs can only record when power is applied. Powering of the EDR requires that battery power is available and the ignition is in the “on” position.

How is EDR data accessed and analyzed?

General Motors, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler have already released a method of downloading the data contained within their EDRs to the public. The EDR data is accessed through a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) system manufactured by BOSCH Diagnostics. Currently, other EDRs are only accessible through the manufacturers.

Will EDRs ever become standardized?

Yes. NHTSA has released a ruling (NHTSA-2006-25666; 49 CFR Part 563 Titled: Event Data Recorders) that will regulate the type of information that is recorded and the method in which it is stored. The ruling will affect all vehicles manufactured for North America after September 1st 2012 and will require that all manufacturers make their EDR data available to the public.

Is EDR information admissible in court?

Yes. Regardless of state, EDR data has been consistently accepted in criminal prosecutions and civil litigation. In many states, including Illinois, EDR data has been tested and found to meet the Frye standard for admissibility. (Illinois App. Ct., 4th Dist., No. 4-01-0237, Appeal from Circuit Court of Woodford County, Case No. 98L21 – 2002).

Who owns the information contained within an EDR?

Generally, the data contained within an EDR should be treated as property of the vehicle owner. If consent to access the information from an EDR is being sought, then the vehicle owner should be contacted.

Do any states have EDR laws?

Yes. There are currently 12 states with EDR laws. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and Virginia all have laws governing EDRs. Many more states are expected to draft legislation in the next few years.

This article was submitted by Shawn Gyorke, a Certified Traffic Accident Reconstructionist and Crash Data Retrieval Analyst with 9 years law enforcement experience. Shawn is also the owner of Crash Data Services, LLC, an expert witness service specializing in accident reconstruction and EDR downloads. For more information, examples of actual downloads and a list of services, please visit http://www.crashdataservices.net.

How to start a solo practice while cutting over head costs by 85%?

Law firms have been laying off attorneys in record numbers leaving lawyers scrabbling to find work. Employed attorneys are currently on edge of losing their jobs. They have seen several of their colleagues lost their jobs in recent months and are unable to find another position.  Some unemployed attorneys are considering branching out of the legal field while others are considering going into solo practice.  Attorneys who are considering starting a solo practice are hesitant because of the over head costs of starting a law firm.

These attorneys may want to consider hiring a virtual paralegal.  A Virtual Paralegal is a paralegal who is independently contracted by a lawyer or law firm to provide paralegal support services on an as needed basis with such services being supplied with the use of technology such as the internet, e-mail, fax and remote access systems (to name a few).
Solo practitioners, small law firms and in-house legal departments can benefit from outsourcing  non-core activities that will give them more time to concentrate on their core business processes.  Outsourcing can help solo practitioners, small law firms and in-house legal departments to cut their operational costs to more than half. If they want their law firms to stay ahead of competition, concentrate on core competencies and make use of the latest technologies, then outsourcing can help their law firm achieve all this and more.

Solo practitioners, small law firms and in-house legal departments can also maximized resources by utilizing the necessary support without incurring the salary, benefits and overhead expenses of hiring a permanent paralegal. In addition, they can  increased productivity by delegating procedural and practical workload that is better assigned to a paralegal.
Using a Virtual Paralegal is a highly efficient, economical way for solo practitioners, small law firms and in-house legal departments to keep their legal budget under control, while maintaining the excellence demand of their legal practice.

Cordina A. Charvis is the founder and CEO of Virtual Outsource Paralegal, http://virtualoutsourceparalegal.com. She has more than 10 years working a Paralegal in large law firms and legal department. She can be contacted via email inbox@virtualoutsourceparalegal.com

Why a Medical Expert Witness is Essential to a Court Case

Whether the court case is civil or criminal in nature, both plaintiffs and defendants can benefit from the use of a medical expert witness. This is especially true in an era where forensic technology is growing by leaps and bounds, branching off into areas like ballistic, blood spatter analysis and DNA testing.

Another branch of forensics falls under the medical disciplines and can encompasses any group that provides a medicinal service to investigators or the population at large.

Just what can these experts offer in the realm of traditional jurisprudence?

Role of medical expert witness

Although most people believe coroners and medical examiners as the primary medical experts used in court trials, the fact is anyone who practices medicine in any capacity can be a medical expert witness. For instance, a chiropractor or orthopedic surgeon can attest to damages done to the spine or back during a personal injury lawsuit where a hurt plaintiff is suing for monetary compensation.

On the other hand, an expert may be able to prove that the injury claimed by a money seeking plaintiff is being over blow in an effort to obtain ill gained reparations.

Because a medical expert can make or break a case in this regard, their importance cannot be understated.

Present unbiased view of events

Most court trials involve two views of events that can be difficult to sort through and prove. Because the outcome can in some cases be literally be a matter of life and death, it pays to be able to separate fact from fiction.

Science itself is fairly irrefutable and with a few are notable exceptions is rarely inaccurate. This is why medical science can then be employed to prove or disprove claims on both sides of the fence.

Corroborate exonerating evidence

Medical expert witness can help people who have been wrongly accused by providing information via testimony that breaks down a scenario based on medical evidence. When jurors are given these tools, they are able to weigh various factors to arrive to a conclusion. When irrefutable evidence is presented by such experts, the job of the juror becomes a whole lot easier.

Strengthen the case for the prosecution

The same can be said for proving defendants guilt. Nine times out of ten, people who are criminally accountable for death or harm and injury to an individual will lie about the circumstances. A medical expert witness can dispute claims of innocence by producing information that calls their story into question.

The special role of a dental expert witness

A dental expert witness is a forensic professional whose title falls under the heading of Forensic Odontologist. These individuals are also called bite mark examiners. These specialists most often establish the identity of perpetrators via teeth impressions which can be left on the skin when a homicide victim is bitten. This bite can link a killer to the deceased. The benefit of this particular type of analysis speaks for itself.

A dental expert witness is utilized in situations where unidentified bodies have been located as well. In these cases, policemen generally have an idea of who the deceased individual may be and need this particular professional to confirm it.

This forensic professional will most often use a person’s dental records and compare them with the teeth of the unidentified individual in question. This is important in situations where a murder defendant is claiming the person is simply missing and not dead.

As forensic technology continues to expand, the testimony and services of a medical expert witness will become a near standard in both civil and criminal court cases. This will lower chances of innocent people being falsely imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit and reduce the chances of the guilty walking away scot free.

For this reason, medical experts will forever change the landscape of the criminal justice system.

Medical and Dental Malpractice Consultants provide malpractice medical expert witness services, dental expert witness services, case evaluations and expert reports. When looking for medical attorney services, consider JD.MD.