Hiring an attorney to manage your personal injury claim might seem like a no-brainer to some, but there are plenty of voices telling you that settling a claim is easy. That you don’t need an attorney to take one-third of your settlement for simply doing paperwork. This seems to go with the typical mockery personal injury attorneys suffer on a normal basis. I believe the term is “ambulance-chaser.” That simply isn’t true when you take a hard look at the numbers. The available research suggests that the average person will come out far ahead by hiring an attorney.
The Davis Law Group, P.S. published an article in 2013(1) exploring settlement figures. The article posted by them specifically cites two studies on personal injury settlements. The first study was done in 1999 by the Insurance Research Counsel (IRC). This study states that verdicts were on average 40% higher with an attorney than without. Another study by the IRC goes even further. This study states that settlements for personal injury cases are on average, 3 ½ times higher with an attorney. Below is a table from the IRC showing how retaining an attorney can increase the value of your case
The numbers in the above chart from the IRC are shocking. While these are averages, and not specific cases, it is clear that the average person is going to come out far ahead by hiring an attorney, even with one-third being deducted as an attorney fee. At all levels of injury, an individual will benefit from hiring an attorney to prosecute his or her claim.
Another study cited by the article published by The Davis Law Group, P.S. is from All Industry Research Counsel and indicates that hiring an attorney will result in a better award. The study titled “Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims” states that individuals who hired an attorney for their personal injury claim received a higher rate of reimbursement per dollar of economic loss. This simply means that per every dollar of harm suffered by an individual, having an attorney will result in that person being reimbursed at a higher rate when compared with representing themselves. The numbers continually show that on average, hiring a personal injury attorney results in higher settlements for individuals injured in an accident.
Abstract research data is one thing, but this data is backed up by real world experiences. A prior client of The Law Offices of Blake R. Maislin, LLC who will be referred to as JM, had an offer of $15,000 from the insurance company covering the at-fault party.(3) JM was told that $15,000 was the top offer. Once JM retained The Law Offices of Blake R. Maislin, LLC, a settlement of $40,000 was reached. Nearly three times the amount without an attorney.
This is not an isolated event. As research and practical experience shows, insurance companies will pay unrepresented parties less than someone who retains the services of an attorney. The reality of outcomes for individuals facing the daunting task of representing themselves in their personal injury action is bleak. The numbers and experiences strongly suggest that you will certainly wind up with less money than if you retain an attorney to handle the entire process. Not only will this maximize the sought after award, but it also streamlines the process while adding more benefits than just an increase in case value.
With an attorney handling the case, ideally all the details will be handled correctly. Bills will be paid, statute of limitations will be noted and not missed, and more importantly, the client can focus on getting healthy again minus the stress of dealing with an insurance company. Tasks such as ordering, reading and sending medical records; negotiating hospital bills; handling liens against settlement proceeds correctly; and ultimately being able to file a lawsuit if the insurance company isn’t making a fair settlement offer, are all taken care of once an attorney is retained. The client will no longer be required to keep track and stress about these things.
With the increase in value being clear, and the other added benefits of retaining an attorney for your personal injury case apparent, it makes all the sense in the world to avoid the many voices telling you to handle your own case. Instead, take the time to serve your own self-interest and call an attorney for your personal injury case. The numbers suggest the only regret you have will be the one if you don’t call.