This Thanksgiving

When I sat down to contemplate the real meaning of Thanksgiving, I realized the holiday means so many different things to different people. Personally, and for those who are lucky enough to be healthy and employed, it means that children are home from school, homes are decorated with fall décor and holiday shopping begins. Days are filled with discussions about where to spend the holiday, who will cook, and which ‘particularly bothersome’ family may show up to our festivities. Guests are huddled around the television for parades and football and enjoying an overabundance of delicious home-cooked food.

However, when I reflect on the word Thanksgiving itself and break it up, the holiday takes on new meaning. Focusing on the two parts of the holiday – both “Thanks” and “Giving” can help us gain new perspective. For close to two decades, I am proud and thankful to be part of an incredible industry where those powerful words are part of our daily job. Legal Finance companies give injured people money to help pay their bills, put roofs over their heads when they are homeless or on the brink of eviction, and put food on their tables. Just as a doctor in a trauma unit has to keep objectivity and keep emotion out of his or her position, we also need to stay objective while listening to clients telling us stories of their daily struggles. But, I often think about the gifts that hearing their stories has given me. The gifts I receive daily are of empathy and compassion. These clients’ stories are immensely powerful and the money we offer them has meaning and makes a significant impact in their lives. The thanks we receive for relieving immediate financial pressure is heartwarming. The tears they cry are real.

On this Thanksgiving holiday I am thankful to be able to be part of a business that changes peoples’ lives, allowing them to continue to support their families while they are unable to work due to injuries…

For many of these people, their financial situations were already a struggle prior to their accidents. Once injured their finances unravel and an already difficult situation becomes an impossibility. We offer them a lifeline, and hope that the future will get better.

Here are their stories:

James was homeless with an infant and a five-year-old. He, his fiancé and their children had been living out of his car. Eventually the car received so many tickets and food was scarce, so he had to sell the car. The money for the car lasted a week. He reached out to his personal injury lawyer who told him about legal funding. We approved him for $5000 which was enough to help the family put a roof over their heads and left a small amount for the holidays.

Each time we speak to Ariva, we are inspired by her positive attitude and sense of humor. Her husband recently lost his job and her family was experiencing financial hardship. She requested funding because her car was getting repossessed and she didn’t even have money to feed her three kids. Throughout the ordeal of her accident and medical recovery, we have been able to assist her with incremental funding on a monthly basis. She let us know that she is forever grateful for the funds we provided. She was so happy once we approved her, she told me when her case settles she’s taking us to her favorite spot for dinner.

This holiday season, we are helping a single mother buy formula for her infant and providing significant funds for a client who was going to lose his business because he could not keep it running while he was out for back surgery.

So, on a day filled with turkey, stuffing, football, pie and contentment we should all be thankful and grateful that we have ways to find hope. The lessons of perseverance and positivity — even in the face of hardship are inspiring. We should remember that there is always a way to find help.

 

ARC Member

Elizabeth Pekin, Esq.

President & Co-Founder

Momentum Funding, LLC

The Holiday Season is upon us along with the stress that it brings.

With the Holiday Season upon us and all the pressure that brings with it Americans are under a lot of stress. Now imagine you have been through a terrible accident, due to no fault of your own, and you cannot meet your financial obligations because you are not able to work due to your injuries. You have been forced to hire an attorney to help you with your legal claim and they tell you that the other side is slow walking your case. This happens to more and more Americans every day. That is why there is Consumer Legal Funding.

Consumer Legal Funding allows you to get the financial assistance you need while your legal claim is making its way through the long drawn out legal process. According to NBC News 78 percent of American full time workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck. It goes on to say 71 percent of us are in debt, which is three percent more than in 2016.

What is amazing is it goes on to say that even those who are making over $100K per year are living paycheck-to-paycheck and 59 percent are in debt.

Consumer Legal Funding is not a loan. It is a purchase of an asset and that asset being your legal claim. It allows you to get the funds you need today to provide for your family, to help with those unexpected bills, to keep a roof over your head, to ensure you and your family can survive while your legal claim is making its way through the process.

You can check out our website that gives you some advice on how to deal with the added financial pressures. ARC Financially Fit

 

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck that is why they need Consumer Legal Funding.

 

According to CNBC 78% of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75% last year. In addition 56% of those polled said they were in over their heads with debt and have saved less than $100 per month for emergency’s.

The story went on to say that even those making over $100,000, nearly 10% of then live paycheck to paycheck and 59% of those in the that salary range said they were in the red.

That is why Consumer Legal Funding is so important. When an unexpected tragedy hits, and consumers do not have the financial resources to make end meets while their claim is dragging out, that is where Consumer Legal Funding comes in. It allows those with a legitimate legal claim to hang on till their claim is making its way through the legal process.

Consumer Legal Funding allows consumers like Jack Daniels from Phoenix who stated: My budget was already tight, and the injury made things much worse.”

Consumers like Jack should not be forced to accept a settlement that does not satisfy what they need to make them whole.

Georgia Appeals Court Rules Legal Funding Not a Loan

The Georgia Appeals Court ruled on June 27, 2017 that Legal Funding is not a loan under the Georgia Industrial Loan Act (GILA)

The Court stated Unlike loans, the funding agreements do not always require repayment. Any repayment, under the funding agreements, is contingent upon the direction and time frame of the Plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation, which may be resolved through a myriad of possible outcomes, such as settlement, dismissal, summary judgment, or trial.

 

This is a win for consumers in Georgia and across the country.

The Long, Troubled History of Insurance

The concept of insurance has existed for thousands of years, dating back to early societies like the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans. Modern insurance developed over the last few centuries, and began to reveal some of the pitfalls facing consumers. Those troubles have persisted over the last few decades, as the insurance industry has changed drastically, arguably becoming less consumer friendly.

Modern insurance began to take shape in 17th century Europe, in the form of property, business, and life insurance, mainly protecting against fire damage. But this first foray into comprehensive coverage wasn’t without its flaws. Insurance carriers would supply the insured with branded cards indicating they would be protected. However, during this period insurance carriers actually employed their own private fire departments, which would often ignore burning buildings if the owners couldn’t immediately verify they maintained a policy with the company.

In the 19th century, railways paved the way for accident insurance to address an increase in passenger fatalities. According to these policies, passengers would receive basic accident insurance along with their tickets. Still, second- and third-class passengers were required to pay higher insurance premiums because insurers considered them high liability.

Fast forward once more to the 1990s and the sea change that took place when private companies went public. These new big insurance companies became trillion-dollar entrenched defendants, making it difficult for consumers to fight for fair settlements. Data shows how insurers took a systematic approach to delaying and denying claims settlements in an effort to turn claims, once viewed as cost centers, into profit centers. According to A.M. Best data, in 1987 insurance companies paid out 71 cents of every premium dollar paid, but by 2014 payouts had dwindled to 57 cents of every dollar. Insurance companies figured out they could often get away with lowball, early-settlement offers when customers needed quick cash.

The historic timeline of insurance shows how insurers have maintained a big advantage over individual consumers. Even today, many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and studies like this Harris Poll-Oasis Financial survey show many don’t have enough saved to cover an emergency.

That’s why consumer legal funding continues play a vital role for consumers across the country. Funding provides consumers the wherewithal to hold out for a fair offer from an insurance company. It also provides a lifeline to cover living expenses, medical bills, and other costs that lowball early-settlement offers often don’t. Consumer legal funding remains one of the best tools to fight for what’s fair and to level the playing field with insurers, who have historically held the upper hand.

Advantage of Consumer Legal Funding, your credit doesn’t matter.

A recent report stated that 45 million Americans are living without a credit score. This can make it virtually impossible for those Americans to get the financial assistance they may need when they are a financial bind due to an accident that was not their fault.
That is where consumer legal funding comes into place. A credit score never comes into play when determining if you will receive consumer legal funding from a company. What the consumer legal funding companies look at is if you have a valid legal claim and are represented by an attorney. The fact that you may or may not have a credit score or what that score is does not matter.

consumer legal funding

ARC Advisory Council Member Writes LAW 360 Article on the Importance of Free Markets

Jeremy Kidd, a law and economics scholar at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, recently scribed an article for the legal publication Law 360 discussing how anti-market, pro-business protectionism is threatening American democracy.  In the article, he describes the difference between supporting pro-market ideologies established by free market theorist Adam Smtih and supporting pro-business initiatives that forward the interests of specific businesses and hurt consumers in the process.

In the article, he describes the difference between supporting pro-market ideologies established by free market theorist Adam Smtih and supporting pro-business initiatives that forward the interests of specific businesses and hurt consumers in the process.

Kidd calls out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for pushing the business interests of their top donors–many massive insurance company backers–to the detriment of consumers.

In recent years, the Chamber has advocated for a ban on the use of consumer legal funding in states across the country, which could leave many personal injury victims without financial options when trying to pursue a fair claim. Consumer legal funding helps families replace lost income now, after an accident, so that they can meet basic household needs until their case settles.

From the article:

It is difficult, if not impossible, for victims to hold insurance companies accountable when victims must accept an insufficient settlement offer in order to avoid starvation, eviction or inability to obtain medical care. As in so many other areas of our lives, financial intermediaries have arisen to correct this market imperfection.

Kidd, who is a member of the ARC Advisory Council, is also one of the nation’s leading experts on the topic of consumer legal funding. His latest paper on the topic, Modeling the Likely Effect of Litigation Financingwhich was published last year.

Check out the article on Law 360’s site HERE.

Read the full text HERE.

financially fit

Taking It To the Next Level—ARC Launches Financial Literacy Tool to Mark Financial Literacy Month

The Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding (ARC) is proud to announce the launch of a new website called Financially Fit in honor of National Financial Literacy Month, which is observed in April every year. Financially Fit a user-friendly financial resource site for people who are facing a financial crisis after an accident or injury, or who simply want to move toward long-term financial wellness.

To develop the site, we partnered with our ARC member companies and Money Management International (MMI), a well-respected 501 (c)(3) non-profit credit counseling service that has been serving consumers since 1958. Members of our Advisory Council were also integral to the site’s development.

ARC is committed to promoting practices and regulations that lead to consumer’s informed decisions about their finances.

We believe that informed decisions start with financial education.

The site entered beta testing on December 1, 2016. Since then it’s garnered over 3,000 visits and more than 650 people have called MMI for free 1-on-1 budget counseling through the site.

We are excited to share this resource, to take our engagement with consumers to the next level. We hope that it will provide the tools necessary to get visitors on the path to financial health.

consumer legal funding

Rob Johnson’s Biting Response to U.S. Chamber’s Lisa Rickard

The hypocrisy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s stance on regulation can sometimes be hard to stomach.

The organization is known for their firm opposition to regulations on businesses, lobbying for de-regulation at every turn, citing harm to the market and the economy. However, they are happy to push to impose regulations on small business if it’s in the interest of their members—huge insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate—unconcerned that it would hurt everyday people in the process.

In a recent op-ed out of Alabama, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform president, Lisa Rickard, derides consumer legal funding (which she intentionally mischaracterizes as “lawsuit loans”) by spouting glaring falsehoods (too many to even address properly in one blog), slinging mud, and pushing a bill that would hurt consumers in that state.

ARC Executive Director Rob Johnson just wrote a measured but biting response in The Gadsden Times titled “More bureaucracy, less choice? What is U.S. Chamber thinking?” calling out the Chamber for being so out of touch with the people of Alabama—and people across the country:

The November election revealed an overwhelming tide of people who felt left behind by the system and invisible to policymakers. These are people who go to work every day and just want to forge the best lives they can for their families. The voice of Alabamans rang loud and clear — they want less government, not more bureaucracy. They want more choices for their families, not fewer… Overregulation is not consumer protection. It’s just out of touch with the voices of voters and leaves people behind.

It’s recommended reading for President Rickard.

The legislation she is pushing for her industry backers is not only a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but goes against the sentiments just expressed by Alabama voters in November. It’s a good thing legislators have been good shepherds the last few times she’s tried to hurt their Alabama constituents.

Check out Rob Johnson’s response HERE.

Gorsuch consumer legal funding

Supreme Court Nominee Brings National Attention to the Cost of Delay in Judicial System

On day 2 of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch did something important—he laid out the cost of delay in the judicial system on a national stage.

The costs are high. Delay puts justice out of reach for many Americans that can’t afford to sustain themselves during extended litigation.

Gorsuch consumer legal funding

Judge Gorsuch brought attention to this fact during Sen. Mike Crapo’s (R-Iowa) line of questioning (see 9:48:50). He talked about Americans’ Seventh Amendment right to trial and the access to justice issues that plague the system, lamenting that it can be difficult litigants to get a jury trial because so much time is spent in discovery. “Lawyers become poets of nastygrams…I’m not sure that’s a good thing” said Gorsuch.

“When it gets so expensive and takes so long to get to a jury, to get to a trial… defendants sometimes you feel like you have to settle, not because the case has merit, but the cost and the delay to the client are so significant in getting to a decision, that you can’t afford to do it. You’ve got to get on” he said, adding that it’s a major issue needs to be addressed.

Our legal system operates on a timetable that isn’t friendly to everyday citizens, which undermines equity. Delay weakens the justice system.

scales of justice consumer legal funding

Fifteen years ago, consumer legal funding emerged as a solution. In most jurisdictions, regular people can use consumer legal funding to pay for daily household needs as their valid legal claim makes its way through the system. Funding doesn’t go toward the cost of litigation—retaining an attorney, court costs and fees, etc.—only for personal expenses, ensuring that funding increases equity while avoiding additional burden on the system. It gives people a chance to seek a fair resolution.

Professor Jeremy Kidd wrote in a recent Law 360 article that “when legitimate claims are brought and justice served, it can actually benefit the economy by deterring bad and inefficient behavior.”

Judge Gorsuch shined a bright light on the issue, showing the negative effect delay can have on meritorious claims, to the detriment of our democracy. Ensuring equity in the system is of significant importance.