In a recent Lawyers’ Weekly article “David Can Now Challenge Goliath”, the issue of taking on a party who has access to unlimited resources is addressed. JustKapital, a litigation funder that offers finance to plaintiffs on an international basis, argues that the lack of funding often deters plaintiffs from pursuing legitimate claims. “Disbursement Funding” can even the playing field by allowing plaintiffs to defer payment of third party costs until settlement. This can slow upfront payments, for funding of medico-legal reports, or the payment of Radiology Expert Witnesses.
It can often be that a firm is cash-strapped and not able to fund a report, which can result in the case being put on hold. JustKapital argues that disbursement funding allows a plaintiff to fire back against the defense, and maintain the momentum of the case. With disbursement funding, capital constraints can be lifted, and firms can take on more cases and generate more revenue.
In the article, a case was cited where a man was involved in a head on car crash. He was hospitalized for months, and had a lengthy period of treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation. During this time, the plaintiff obtained a suite of Expert Witnesses who created medical and radiology reports to strengthen the case. This lead to a successful monetary outcome, with the insurance company accepting liability and paying damages and other compensation. Without disbursement funding, the plaintiff would not have been able to pursue their claim as the cost of the radiology reports and other third party reports were sizable.
Radiology expert witnesses, such as those who opine on body imaging, bone nuclear medicine, and CT scans, should be aware of such funding, and seek assurances in their retention agreement as to how they will be paid. Though radiologists may ultimately get paid, it should not be left up to chance, and should be clarified in their agreement with the law firm.