Personal Injury Law Firm Settlement Mills: What to Look Out for
When it comes to hiring a lawyer, it is critical to know with whom you are working. Attorneys should always work for their clients. This includes helping them receive the full amount of compensation they are entitled to, and doing so with real concern for their health and welfare. When working with a settlement mill, this may not be what happens.
Injury accident settlement mills are law practices that work at a high-volume pace. They are able to take on many cases because they avoid going to trial in most cases. By settling the majority of their cases, these law firms are able to make more money. These firms do not work for the plaintiffs. They work for themselves, and for the insurance companies.
So, how can you avoid working with a settlement mill and instead, work with an attorney who is genuinely looking out for your best interests? By looking for these warning signs.
All attorneys need to advertise. However, they do not need to take out huge billboards or flood the television and radio airwaves with their name all the time. Settlement mills need a large amount of clients so they can make the most amount of money possible. In order to get those clients, they have to constantly advertise.
What people do not often realize though, is that while a big-name lawyer may be the face of the billboard, clients will rarely get to meet with them. Instead, paralegals will often handle the cases.
While paralegals help lawyers in every firm, in a settlement mill they will be coached to reach a settlement quickly and be given a quota of settlements they are expected to reach. Sometimes, settlement mills go so far as to instruct paralegals to break the Illinois Paralegal Association Code of Ethics, which includes never working with a client unless under the supervision of an attorney.
To avoid this, injured individuals should always make sure they are working with an attorney who offers free initial consultations. During this evaluation, the case is briefly discussed, and it is an opportunity for those injured to ask how involved the actual attorney will be in the case.
A settlement that is offered quickly is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it is also offered fairly. Often, attorneys will advise their clients to turn down the first settlement offer, and more, if they believe it is not fair to the client. Settlement mills do not do this.
Settlement mills do not actually prepare their cases because they have no intention of ever taking it to trial. Some plaintiffs will benefit greatly from having their personal injury case taken to trial, but are not given the chance with a settlement mill. The other consequence of an attorney not properly preparing a case is that they can not argue against unfair settlements with the insurance company and defendants because they do not know the facts of the case.
When an attorney tries to aggressively persuade their clients to take a settlement, particularly if it is the first one offered, it is a fairly good sign that the case is currently with a settlement mill. To avoid this, injured individuals should speak to an attorney before hiring him or her. If an attorney is adamant that the case will be settled without hearing all the facts, it is likely that another attorney will work harder for the plaintiff.
No Help with Medical Care and Rehabilitation
A good attorney will not just represent the client in the courtroom, but also in the medical system, which can be confusing and complicated for those trying to recover from their injuries. Workers’ compensation cases are often affected by doctors biased for insurance companies, and in traumatic brain injuries, doctors sometimes do not have understanding of the complexity of the case.
Attorneys working for a settlement mill do not help their clients navigate this complicated network, leaving them frustrated and without the care they desperately need. During an initial free consultation, injured individuals should ask any attorney they speak to about their recovery, and how involved the attorney will be in it. This will indicate whether or not the attorney will be there throughout every step of the process, or if they are working for a settlement mill.
Contact the Attorneys Who Care
At Blumenshine Law Group, we do only what is best for our clients. We are here for our clients from the beginning of the case to the end. We will constantly work in your best interests.
If you have been injured, please contact us today at (312) 766-1000 or contact us for your free consultation. You can be sure when you work with us, you are not working with a firm that wants to settle your case as quickly as possible. You are working with attorneys who care, will provide honest advice, and will work hard to get you the full amount of compensation to which you may be entitled, whether that means settling or going to trial.