Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Lawyers
I recently read an article that discussed how insurance companies are the main force behind the negative publicity and stories that personal injury attorneys receive. The article discussed how injury victims who are represented by attorneys receive higher payouts than those who seek to settle their claims alone.
For the most part, this article is accurate. Insurance companies understand that experienced personal injury lawyers will know when a settlement offer or payout is insufficient for their client’s needs. This article briefly mentioned that some personal injury lawyers bring the bad publicity upon themselves. To a certain extent this is true. We have had clients from Vermont and New Hampshire tell us that they were actively solicited by lawyers after their injury. One issue this article didn’t discuss is that while claimants do receive more money when they have an attorney represent them, sometimes this isn’t always in their client’s best interest. Generally, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Meaning, if you win you claim, one third of your settlement or verdict goes to the attorney. Sometimes, this leaves the victim with less money than they would have received had they settled the claim on their own.
At Van Dorn & Curtiss, we don’t believe it is always appropriate to take a full fee from a client. In fact, we have had some clients where we’ve greatly reduced our fee, or taken no fee at all. Some attorneys will take a client, not do much work, and happily take a one third fee. This is unethical. Our attorneys will give you an honest assessment of your claim and we will tell whether it is in your best interest to settle a claim on your own.