We’ve all seen and heard the ads. If an advertising company put a billboard in the middle of the ocean, a settlement mill attorney would buy it! Usually, it’s a smiling face, phone number and short catch-phrase like:
Call Me [Insert City or State]!
In Huntsville, one local group of DUI lawyers decided to raise billboards and sign all manner of clients. Those same DUI lawyers sign the cases simply to refer the serious ones for a fee. That’s wrong.
If the billboard lawyer is being honest, he or she would tell you the first question to ask is whether or not you really need a personal injury lawyer. In some cases, you do not. In some cases, you might be better without a lawyer. Yet, these mass advertising lawyers will rarely admit this truth.
You had a car accident. Do you really need a lawyer? Most billboard or television lawyers simply sign every case. That is, they sign you to a contract whether or not you really need their help. These billboard lawyers are typically running large volume firms. Their primary motivation may be a quick fee instead of your best interest. Their way of doing business is WRONG. Yet, it is everywhere.
Do I Really Need A Lawyer For My Accident Claim?
If you are looking for a hard-and-fast rule, you won’t find one. But, you can consider a few guidelines in determining whether or not you really need a personal injury lawyer for your car accident claim. Here are a few guidelines:
Are your injuries no more than some minor sprains, strains or bruises?
Is your medical treatment limited to just an E.R. visit? Is treatment minimal?
Did the accident cause just minor vehicle damage and no injury?
Do you need or expect medical treatment beyond an initial E.R. visit?
Is fault undisputed?
If someone else is clearly at fault and damages are minimal, you may not need an attorney. You should address these issues before hiring any attorney. In the FAQ section of our firm website, we provide answers to questions involving the issue of whether or not you need a car accident attorney as well as advice on how to find the right attorney.
What Settlement Mill Attorneys Won’t Tell You?
Personal injury attorneys generally work on contingency fees. That is, you don’t pay by the hour. You pay a percentage of your recovery. I’m not criticizing contingency fees. In serious accident and injury cases, they are the best fee structure. With a contingency fee, you avoid huge up front costs or hourly lawyer fees. Since you only pay if you win, the lawyer is also taking the risk of losing any invested case expenses.
What the settlement mill attorney usually won’t tell you is that in a minimal damage claim, they really cannot add much value. For example, you get in a fender bender, go to the emergency room but are better in a few days. In such a minimal damage case, the insurance company is not going to change its offer much for an attorney. They are going to offer about the same money whether or not you have legal counsel. Yet, you are probably going to pay the lawyer 1/3 of what you get. Why pay the lawyer if he or she cannot increase the case value significantly? Why would you give part of your money to an attorney who probably did little or no work and added no value?
What Quality Personal Injury Attorneys Will Tell You.
Being a lawyer is both a profession and a business. Yet, many of the advertising lawyers have forgotten the “profession” part. As lawyers, we should listen and advise people. A quality personal injury lawyer should answer your questions and tell you honestly whether or not he or she can help. By help, I mean the lawyer actually adds value to your final resolution. If you’ve been in an accident and are not sure whether your case is worth hiring a lawyer, ask a local attorney you trust. We talk to Alabama accident victims almost every day. When they need our legal services, we are happy to help. When they just need some advice or answers, we are also happy to discuss their questions at no charge.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury cases. Our injury cases include auto accidents, workplace accidents and defective product claims. From our office in Huntsville, we represent clients across Alabama.