If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you could suffer serious injuries and incur well over $100,000 in medical bills and even more in lost wages if you are off work for months or longer while you recover. The financial and health consequences can be even more devastating if you suffer a long-term injury or are permanently disabled.
You need a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney at your side to fight with the insurance company for a fair settlement. When selecting your lawyer, it is crucial that you avoid hiring a high-volume settlement mill law firm.
What Is a Settlement Mill?
A settlement mill is a law firm that focuses on handling a large number of motor vehicle accident claims at the same time and settling them quickly with insurance companies. Their primary goal is to get through as many cases as possible to increase their profits rather than looking out for the best interests of their clients.
These law firms often agree to settle their claims based on formulas worked out by the insurance company that do not take into account their client's individual needs. Insurance adjusters prefer to work with settlement mill lawyers because they know it will reduce the amount they have to pay and avoid the cost of litigating a victim's claim.
Warning Signs of a Settlement Mill Law Firm
If you are like most motor vehicle accident victims, you may have never had to hire a lawyer to handle a personal injury claim. This inexperience could lead to hiring the first lawyer you come across instead of fully vetting a firm. What you don't want to do is inadvertently hire a settlement mill law firm. However, it can be challenging to identify which law firms to avoid, especially since the majority of motor vehicle collision claims are settled without going to a jury trial. Here are the warning signs you need to watch for.
All attorneys need to do some advertising. However, reputable firms don't engage in aggressive and predatory advertising. Settlement mills rely on excessive advertising to attract a large number of accident victims. They plaster their name on billboards throughout the Kansas City area and flood radio and television stations with too-good-to-be-true ads. While not all lawyers you see on television work for settlement mills, many do. It should be a red flag if you see multiple ads for the same firm during a single news broadcast or television show. These lawyers are more interested in quick settlements than fighting for you to get what your claim is truly worth.
Many attorneys have a case result page on their website where they share their success stories in resolving their clients' claims. When you research attorneys, you should look at their case results. If few or none of their case results are about claims they took to a jury trial, this is a warning sign that they are a settlement mill.
Staff Handling Your Case
Another sign that the law firm is a settlement mill is that you have little contact with the lawyer you hired. These firms can handle a large volume of cases because they delegate the work to paralegals and office assistants. While many legitimate law firms also rely on paralegals, they do not leave all communications with clients to support staff.
You want to be updated on your case by your attorney, not an assistant. It is much better to discuss important decisions in your case—such as whether to accept a settlement or go to trial—with a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to advise you, rather than a member of their staff.
One of the biggest red flags of a settlement mill is a rush to settle your auto accident claim. If the lawyer you meet with at an initial consultation tries to sell you on hiring their firm by telling you how quickly they can settle your claim, you should look for a different attorney.
Why is it a bad idea to settle your claim right away? In most cases, victims that settle their claims quickly receive far less than they are entitled to in their settlement—which is what the insurance company wants.
You cannot know the real value of your claim until you recover as fully as possible from your injuries so that you know the total amount of your future medical expenses, wage losses, and pain and suffering. You should not settle your case—even if it is months or longer after your crash—until you know what it is worth.
Why You Need an Attorney Willing to Fight for You
You need a knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer who will thoroughly investigate the cause of your motor vehicle crash and collect the evidence you need to prove the other driver's negligence. You also want someone who will fight hard with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you deserve and will not be afraid to take your case to a jury trial if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable.
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City-Area Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need to speak with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.