Jacksonville, FL asked in Personal Injury for Florida

Q: Is it normal for a law firm to suggest that you get financial funding to pay for surgery?

My attorney suggested that I get financial funding to pay for my shoulder surgery they suggested the company I should use for the funding. The interest rate is really high. My surgery was October 2021 and the debt has went from $7000 to $12000. I have been off of work for 10 months my funds are depleted and I am now in need of financial assistance I tried to contact my attorney and let her know I need to get a pre settlement loan and after days of trying to contact her no response I contacted a pre settlement company to get a loan they contacted my attorney she sent me a email stating that I already have a legal loan. I was confused but come to find out the financial funding that they suggested was actually a Legal loan but they never told me that. So now I need a Legal Loan for my own person financial situation and the attorney says she doesn't think that is a good idea. But I really don't think that is fair and they were very misleading.Please help

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3 Lawyer Answers
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
Answered
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: In my view (and other attorneys may have different views), the type of "legal loan" you are talking about should only be used as a last resort for medical treatment purposes. That type of loan is what we lawyers call non-recourse legal funding, which means that if you lose your case, you owe nothing, but if you obtain a recovery, you re-pay the loan with the super-high interest, which is typically far greater than the legal limit on interest rates - which they can get away with due to it being non-recourse. The first priority for medical billing in a personal injury case is to determine if the treatment can be done on a Letter of Protection ("LOP") basis, where the providers agree to get paid at the conclusion of the case. If that's not possible ,the second avenue to look at is the client using his/her health insurance, which would impose a lien on the case, but with no interest, and the lien would likely be somewhat negotiable. If neither one of those methods are possible, then you would see if the non-recourse funding route would be feasible.

Perhaps the last resort was needed for your treatment, but in any event, at his juncture, "what ifs" will not help you. With the interest on your loan running, you and your lawyer need to determine the quickest way of ending your case with you obtaining a recovery that is okay, if not the level you were hoping for.

Chelsie Marie Lamie
Chelsie Marie Lamie
Answered
  • Clearwater, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Taking out a loan to pay for medical treatment should almost never be done. The companies that do this charge terribly high rates. A better option is to (1) use your Auto insurance (PIP); (2) use your health insurance (you may have to pay back some percentage of what they paid out of the settlement but your lawyer should handle these negotiations for you) or (3) an agreement between you and your doctor that your lawyer will pay your medical bill out of the accident settlement. Unfortunately, there is no undoing what has been done in your situation. I urge you to speak with your lawyer immediately and make a plan to settle the case as quickly as possible, without undermining the value of the case, to pay off the medical loan as soon as possible. Those interest rates may seriously hurt your recovery in this case. I wish you well.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

Adam David Rieth
PREMIUM
Adam David Rieth
Answered
  • Tampa, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I would strongly recommend against taking out a loan for an injury related in an injury case. The interest from these loans are astronomical, and sometimes the loans are unnecessary if there are other avenues of recovery. If this case arose out of an automobile crash, you may have personal injury protection insurance ("PIP") that can cover some of the costs. Next, if you have health insurance of any kind, that would be a better avenue. Finally, some medical providers will treat on a letter of protection ("LOP"), agreeing to be paid from the results of an injury case.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

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