You Need An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you don’t hire an experienced car accident lawyer right away you can seriously hurt your case. There are many important steps to take to make sure you are properly compensated if someone injures you in a car accident. The most important step is to consult with an experienced attorney. Don’t hire a settlement mill law firm whose primary interest is to move cases quickly and efficiently and for low settlement amounts.
The best car accident lawyer for you is the one who will look out for your needs and will take the time to properly evaluate and present your case and the way it has affected you. A settlement mill law firm won’t do that.
What’s a settlement mill law firm? Read on to find out and to learn the things you need to know and do to protect your interests after your car accident.
Insurance Adjusters Work Against You
Over the years, car accidents in Rhode Island have become more and more difficult to settle without an experienced car accident lawyer. When I first started practicing 35 years ago, it was much simpler. But over the course of time insurance adjusters became more sophisticated and auto insurance companies developed more sophisticated tools to help them, with the biggest change coming when they developed the ominously named Colossus.
Colossus is a software program created by the automobile insurance industry to minimize the amount the industry pays to people injured in car accidents. Its use became very prominent in the 1990’s and has been used in one form another since then though other similar software has been developed and used by car insurance companies. Colossus was developed because the insurance companies realized that their adjusters were outmatched by attorneys and they needed something to level the playing field.
A Car Accident Lawyer Takes the Advantage Back
To counter the uneven playing field between lawyers and adjusters the car insurance companies used their greatest asset, their wealth, to develop software to minimize the value of claims and box-in their own adjusters by taking away their discretion to assess the subjective value of pain and suffering. They instructed the adjusters not to budge and to let the car accident lawyers either give in or file a lawsuit.
This strategy was based on their conclusion that busy car accident lawyer could not bring to trial the majority or even a significant percentage of their cases. Initially, their refusal to deal in good faith caused a great deal of litigation and a corresponding increase in costs to the car insurance industry. Eventually though their strategy worked with a little help from some lawyers.
The Wrong Attorney Can Play Right Into Their Hands
A segment of the legal industry contributed to the reduction in the value of car accident injuries with the emergence of personal injury mills. Personal injury mills are high volume law firms which usually engage in mass marketing to lure potential car accident clients in and process them as if they are on an assembly line. As Nora Freeman Engstrom stated in her Stanford Lawyer, Spring 2010 Issue 82, article, “Run-of-the-Mill Justice” An Examination of High-Volume Personal Injury Law Practices,
In other words, when you use a settlement mill law firm, instead of matching an experienced lawyer against an insurance adjuster, you have a paralegal or an inexperienced lawyer working on your case instead. Even worse, you have a paralegal (or inexperienced lawyer) with instructions to move your case quickly and efficiently in service of the law firms interests, not yours. Insurance companies are businesses. They utilize a business model to minimize your settlement to maximize their profits. Settlement mills are a lot like them, they are more business than law firm. Instead of trying to maximize your recovery, they are minimizing their costs by pushing claims towards a fast and low settlement which helps their bottom line, but hurts yours.
What does this mean for you? It means that a settlement mill will do the minimum for you because according to them and to Colossus, your case can be reduced to certain objective factors such as the damage to the vehicle, the location and type of your injury, etc. But the law doesn’t accept that. It explicitly rejects it.
Don't Be a Widget
What’s a widget? Before “widget” became widely used in software terminology it referred to a a generic, mass produced item. That’s how both settlement mills and insurance adjusters treat you. They check a few boxes, do some simple calculations and that’s how much your case is worth to them. It is not a proper evaluation of your case and often they are not even checking off the correct boxes or doing the calculations correctly.
If you have a particularly serious reaction to a collision and your injury is worse than might be ordinarily expected, the law states that an accident victim must be taken as they are, not as they are expected to be. If it would take 10 weeks of treatment for the average person and it takes 40 weeks for you, that’s not your problem. The accident wasn’t your fault and the guilty party isn’t supposed to get the benefit of only having to pay compensation for the injures that the average victim would receive. They must compensate you for the injuries YOU received.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you use a settlement mill law firm, you risk being unceremoniously dumped. Why? Because these mills will quickly come to a conclusion about the value of your case. If your treatment starts to seem excessive to them at a certain point they will conclude that your case doesn’t fit their high volume, low settlement business model. And even if your treatment fits into what they and Colossus thinks you should be getting, if you think the settlement offer they want you to accept is too low, they drop you and just move onto the next case. Time is money and you’re slowing them down.
Settlement mills play right into the hands of the insurance companies and Colossus. They embrace the cookie cutter approach, but you are not a cookie. I can’t promise you will never speak to a paralegal from my office. Paralegals provide very important support. But they won’t be valuing your case. I will. And if your case needs to go to trial, we are prepared to do that. Don’t let your case be treated like a cheap product on an assembly line. Let us help you get the results you are entitled to, not the results that makes someone else’s job easier. There are many reasons to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. Contact us ASAP