A new “scam” appears to be taking hold in Florida that all consumers should be aware of. Sadly this involves some members of the legal profession finding ways to circumvent various ethical or legal obligations related to “buying cases” or paying clients “advances” on thier injury cases. In Florida it is unethical for a lawyer to provide a client an “advance” on potential settlements or to pay clients money, directly or indirectly as an inducement to hire thier law firm over another. It appears that a new variation on this, is the use of “litigation funding” companies to loan injury clients money against thier personal injury cases. Essentially the lawyer tells the client that if the signup with them, the client can immediately get $500-$1,000.00 as an advance on thier case from a litigation funding company they recommend, that if they lose the case the don’t have to pay it back, and that even though they may have to pay back $3,000.00 later this will be deducted from the settlement. What the clients are NOT told is that the lawyer or some freind or family member often owns the litigaton funding company. In reality the lawyer is breaking the law by paying the client for the case, then gouging the client for the loan, and often using such a situation to keep all of the money from small to mid level settlements, money that SHOULD go the client. Bottom line is if anyone offers to pay you money to go to a lawyer or a doctors office, you need to run as fast as you can and report them to your state Bar Association. If the lawyer shows he will break the law for your benefit, you should have no doubt they will do the same for thier own twice as fast.