This month, the city of Northampton in Massachusetts settled a civil rights claim for $52,000. In April 2013, Jonas Correia was arrested for videotaping a scuffle between bar patrons and Northampton police. Another bystander then recorded the police’s ensuing reaction. Correia himself had been recording when officers ordered him to walk away. After refusing, they maced and tackled him. On the tape, Correia is saying “I didn’t do anything.”
The police also attempted to prevent the bystander from recording, but being an attorney, she knew she had a right to record police interactions in public. Correia was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct — charges that were later dropped.
In court, Correia pointed out that without the attorney bystander’s recording of the event, he might have ended up convicted of a crime he didn’t commit — all for recording something he had a legal right to record.
“I would have been just another black man going to court, where it would have been my word against the police story,” he was quoted as saying. While Correia is content with the settlement, his attorney states that Correia would still like to institute changes so that this does not happen to anyone else.
Ultimately, Correia’s court case took three years to reach a settlement. While he may have money now, there were likely many times over the past several years where he could have used the settlement money. Most Americans are in a similar boat. About 62% of Americans aren’t able to pay for unexpected expenses, and a full 76% report living paycheck to paycheck.
The reality is, people often feel discouraged about pursuing a case when doing so will cost them money they don’t have yet — even when it’s an important issue like a civil rights claim. For people caught up in settlement cases that might take years to resolve, a pre-settlement cash advance can be useful. A pre-settlement cash advance can even help people eliminate debt and get ahead on their living expenses.
Right now, about 27% of Americans have no money saved at all. If you’re waiting for settlement money, sometimes it makes sense to cash it in and get money now.