Although you may be expecting a large monetary windfall when your shoulder replacement recall lawsuit is finally settled, it can take months and sometimes years to resolve the case and receive a check. In the meantime, you still have to pay bills and put food on the table, which can seem like an impossible task if your shoulder problems make it difficult for you to work. Here are three things you can do to survive lean times until your lawsuit settles.
Rework Your Budget
The first step is to pull out your budget and see where you can cut costs, especially if you're facing a loss of income due to a disability caused by a damaged shoulder. Even if you plan on using money from savings to cover some of your expenses, eliminating unnecessary financial obligations from your budget can help you stretch your savings for a longer period of time.
This is also a good opportunity to get better deals on products and services. For instance, if you don't watch much television, downgrade your cable account to internet services only and get a subscription to a video streaming service such as Netflix.
Of course, you also need to factor in any new expenses you incurred as a result of your medical condition and lawsuit (e.g. medical bills, legal fees). Try to defer these expenses for as long as possible if you can and develop a repayment plan with creditors that are unwilling to wait until you receive your settlement money.
If anything, reworking your budget will give you an idea of the minimum amount of income you need to survive until your lawsuit settles.
Look for Alternative Income Sources
Although your busted shoulder may make it difficult for you to work at your regular job, there are still ways you can generate income at home to cover your expenses. For instance, renting out a spare room using Airbnb might be a good option if you're comfortable dealing with strangers being in your home. If you have a skill (e.g. writing, graphic design) that doesn't tax your shoulder or you can do with the appropriate aids, you can sell your skills on job boards such as People Per Hour and Elance.
Additionally or alternatively, you can apply for disability benefits, such as SSDI or file a claim against any disability insurance policy you may have. Be aware, though, these programs may take awhile to pay out, so you'll need to come up with alternative ways to generate income in the meantime.
It's essential you check with your attorney beforehand, however, to ensure the way you want to earn money doesn't hurt your case. If you do a physically demanding job in your spare time, for instance, the defendant can use that to prove you're not as injured as you claim.
Consider Pre-Settlement Funding
A third thing you can do is consider applying for pre-settlement funding. This is a type of loan you can take out that borrows against the expected value of your lawsuit. You will usually receive a check within 24 to 48 hours after being approved, and the loan comes due only once your case is settled. In some cases, you won't have to repay the money if you lose your lawsuit.
While this can be a source of quick cash, it's important to go into this transaction with open eyes. You can expect to pay a high interest rate, and you will generally only be approved if the company can be reasonably certain you'll win your case. Additionally, getting money this way means a smaller settlement check when you finally receive it.
For more tips on surviving until your case settles or help litigating a personal injury case, contact an attorney.