How to get someone to take the first step towards justice
At Simia, we care about the people we fund. Since we've opened our doors, we've come across people who have inspired us with their bravery and determination in the face of adversity. The late nights and difficult months have been well worth it because of the people we've helped and the stories we've seen. From the proud home owner who was finally able to turn the lights back on, or the elderly couple that was given a few more years together that they almost lost, we're grateful for everyone we've come across.
For a lot of people, the most difficult part of the process of Pre-Settlement Funding is taking that first step. The system that they're contemplating going up against can be incredibly intimidating. Nobody wants to spend years in court, especially because of the threat to their reputation and livelihood. However, it's often what needs to be done to truly get compensated for the suffering they've been through. What a lot of people don't realize is that the system they're so afraid of is full of allies and honest people who have dedicated their lives to making it work for the little guy.
We wouldn't presume to have all the answers, but these are a few steps that we've taken to help people jump over the hurdle and commit to the most important fight of their lives.
1. Explain the Process
A lot of people would love Pre-Settlement Funding, if they only knew what it was! Admittedly, it's a bit of a complicated name, but even when you tell people "You can get money if you're involved in a lawsuit," there's confusion and a lot of questions.
We've found that things go much smoother when people know exactly what's going to happen in this process. That includes specifics that people may feel uncomfortable talking about, like what the flow of money will be like after a lawsuit is won. However, once you explain these to plaintiffs and they very clearly see that this is an operational business and not a shady "too good to be true" situation, they're much more interested.
2. Be Willing (and able) to be a resource
Something we've seen quite regularly is that a person's been involved in an accident, they're currently suffering, and they've got a great shot at winning a potential lawsuit... but they have no idea what the next step is. They came to us first, sometimes because they've heard good things through word of mouth, other times because we were what happened to pop up when they looked online. They know that we're a part of the solution, but they don't know how to get there.
People like this are often the ones who need our help the most. Something as simple as being represented by a lawyer, which may seem obvious from our perspective, may not have even occurred to someone until they talk to us and we let them know how imperative that is.
So be their living, breathing encyclopedia. Answer their questions and fill in the blanks concerning things they didn't even think to ask about. The people who didn't even know they needed a lawyer are almost always the ones who need this help the most, so you're truly making a difference when you're taking the time to work with them.
3. Be Patient
We've lost track of the number of times we've talked to people and then they've decided to wait and see if they really want to do this. After all, they're about to put themselves out there and do something very difficult. Especially when they're involved in a workplace injury, they've got the dual threat of going up against their company as well as their co-workers. It's rare to find someone who isn't nervous about putting themselves on the line.
Sometimes, all people need is time. When that's the case, don't try to push them and don't write them off. Wait for them and be there when they're ready to take the plunge. Much like jumping into a lake, the water will be cold in that first moment and then everything will be fine. We all know the feeling of the hesitation before a big leap, so be an understanding source of strength and comfort, rather than an antagonistic source of pressure.
People will let you know when they're ready.