You’ve seen and heard all the lawyer promises. From billboards to television, they ask you to call. Some of them even yell their requests. It’s really a terrible way to find a good personal injury lawyer. Instead, you should research your options. Talk to people you trust. Look for an attorney who will work hard to prepare your case.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing several ways settlement mill law firms harm their clients. Settlement mills are those law firms that mass advertise for a volume of cases that can be quickly settled. For them, it’s not about the client relationship. It’s not about building a case for its maximum value and recovery. It’s all about volume.
In recent posts, I discussed the secret arrangements many advertising lawyers have with a specific chiropractor. Like an assembly line, clients are referred to a specific chiropractor who runs up medical bills. In the end, the client suffers. How? These clients do not get the real treatment needed. And, at the end of the case, they are left paying their settlement money to the chiropractor. I’m not attacking all chiropractors or lawyers – just the ones involved in this terrible practice.
When settlement mill clients actually have health insurance, settlement mill lawyers often neglect to help them on reimbursement issues. Again, the client suffers. The problem — Settlement mill lawyers (1) settle too quickly which often means less for their clients; then, (2) pay too much to medical providers / billers which means the clients keep even less of their settlements.
What is one of the single biggest complaints we hear from people who hire settlement mill law firms? One of the biggest complaints about settlement mill law firms is from people who thought they were hiring a lawyer but received something very different. It’s really false and misleading advertising. And, the client suffers.
Do I Even Have A Lawyer? The Staff Handles Everything.
You scheduled an appointment to discuss your case. You expected to meet with a lawyer. Instead, you met with an “investigator” or “legal assistant” of some type. You are injured and have an important story to tell. Yet, the investigator seems more interested in signing you as a client. Even if the “investigator” listens to your story, he’s still not the lawyer. I’ve written several articles about client interviews. These interviews are essential for good lawyers to learn and understand their clients’ stories. They are essential for establishing and building a relationship between the attorney and client. At our firm, we value these meetings and believe they are essential. From start to finish, we spend lots of time with our clients and our files.
After taking your case, the settlement mill law firm assigns a case manager to you. That’s the person who handles your claim for them. In many settlement mill law firms, the attorney never meets the clients and never studies the files. In many settlement mill law firms, all your interactions will be with staff. That’s wrong. Think of an assembly line. Yet, true justice is personal. It cannot be built upon an assembly line.
A good lawyer values the interactions with clients. These conversations are essential to building the case. You hired a lawyer. You need a lawyer to work on your case.
Is My Attorney Local? When Firms Use Ghost Addresses.
This is a growing problems. Many Birmingham law firms advertise a Huntsville phone number or address. Yet, they really don’t have an active office in both cities. Maybe they rent a conference room to have a meeting place. But, the attorneys are located in another city. When you call, your call is routed to the main office.
It’s all a marketing ploy to make you think you are hiring a local lawyer. These attorneys want you to think they are local. And, they also want Google to think they are a local Huntsville personal injury lawyer. Now, I’m not against lawyers handling cases in different counties. We handle accident and injury cases across Alabama. I know many lawyers in Huntsville and Birmingham who regularly handle cases in different counties. But, I do disagree with marketing claims that are not authentic.
It’s Not Just Car Accident Injury Claims. Welcome To The World Of Nationwide Mass Tort Firms.
Are car accident attorneys the only lawyers mass advertising for a volume of cases handled by staff employees? No. Turn on the television. You are likely to see advertisements for two types of lawyers. First, you have the ones asking for your car or truck accident case. Second, you have the ones telling you a drug or medical device is dangerous.
Most of the settlement mill car accident lawyers have an office somewhere in Alabama. But, that’s not true for most mass tort lawyers advertising to get defective drug and device cases. If you read the fine print in their ads, you will discover many of these lawyers are located in states as remote as California or New York. If you call their number, they will send forms to retain their services. But, you will never (I repeat, never) meet an actual lawyer. They want to sign as many cases as possible for a specific drug so they can negotiate a volume settlement.
If you suffered a serious injury because of the advertised drug, you need an attorney who actually practices law in Alabama. In recent years, my firm has handled numerous cases involving defective drugs and medical devices. In many of our cases, we’ve been able to provide real help to our clients by building the case with the local doctors who treated the client.
For nationwide mass tort firms, you are simply one of thousands of clients. For a local trial firm, you are a real person. We know every one of our clients. I study every detail of their medical records.
When I was a young lawyer, an older attorney told me — All lawsuits are personal. That’s so true. Lawsuits are very personal. They involve real harms and real losses. They involve real people. If you are looking for an attorney, find one who will meet with you, who will study your file and who will work personally on your case.
The Blackwell Law Firm focuses on accident and injury cases. We focus all our attention to one area of the law so that we can best serve our injured clients. If you have questions about any personal injury matter, let us know. We are happy to provide information. Consultations are always free and confidential.