At Fair Rate Funding, we get a great deal of requests for “small” fundings of less than $1,000. Of course, what is small for one person may not be small for someone else. Yet, requests for varying amounts of cash advances is the norm in the settlement loan business. While it is true plaintiffs who have lawsuits with very large damages still may only need a few bucks, the vast majority of plaintiffs who are approved for these lesser amounts are involved in what we call “soft tissue” cases.
Although the definition of a soft tissue case has changed in recent years, the term was originally used to describe “whiplash” type of injuries sustained in personal injury lawsuits. The term was meant to describe the fact the injury only involved muscles, flesh and body tissue as opposed to tears to ligaments, bone fractures, or other more severe conditions.
With the practical application of imaging equipment such as x-rays, MRI’s and CT Scanners, much more can be seen under the skin’s surface. Conditions such as ligament tears, herniated discs, fractures and the like are all in open view for doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. debt collection statute of limitations
This is good news for plaintiffs since more serious injuries could now be diagnosed with accuracy.
Insurance companies took the opportunity to label injuries without objective evidence (e.g. x-ray findings) of injury as “soft tissue” injuries. Essentially, a “soft tissue” injury is one where no abnormality can be found in one of the aforementioned imaging studies.
In the last post, we discussed how no-fault insurance laws redefined what injuries were compensable in certain jurisdictions. In this post, we discuss soft tissue personal injury lawsuits and as they relate to the lawsuit funding process.
Redefining “Soft Tissue”?
As stated above, a soft tissue injury has historically meant an injury involving the muscles such as whiplash. Over the years, insurance companies and their attorneys sought to expand this definition a little further. We are seeing a push to include positive findings such as disc bulging and/or herniations into the ‘soft tissue’ box. And on some occasions, they are winning. Whereas a positive finding of disc bulging in an MRI used to meet the “objective evidence of injury” test in the past, defense attorneys are now trying to remove injuries with these types of findings from the pool of compensable injuries.
What to Expect When Applying for Funding of Soft Tissue Lawsuits
In light of the trend toward more and more limitation on available remedies for these less severe but still painful injuries, lawsuit funding outfits take steps to mitigate this additional risk.
One such step would be to eliminate the funding of soft tissue cases altogether. In fact, many settlement loan businesses will not consider automobile personal injury lawsuits for funding without a surgery. Some will only consider automobile cases which have a positive finding of abnormality on a MRI or CT Scan.