There are a variety of studies or statistics that one can find indicating that having an attorney handling a personal injury case can result in an increased financial recovery. I've seen studies suggesting that a recovery by settlement, or other compensation, paid in a case in which an attorney represents the injured plaintiff is three times more than the recovery achieved by an unrepresented person. I've also seen television commercials where insurance claims adjusters are snickering and laughing at an unrepresented individual injured who has been injured an accident, presumably who they have offered only crumbs to, who then quake in fear when lawyers from a given law firm call and state they are now representing that previously unrepresented individual.
It is not realistic to believe that a claims adjuster for a major insurance company is filled with panic, anxiety or outright terror when they learn that a previously unrepresented individual has now hired an attorney. After all, any check they may issue is not drawn on their own personal account. Nevertheless, while it is certainly true that insurance companies have an institutional knowledge of the record, tendencies, and performance of many attorneys, it is not reasonable to expect that an insurance company representative will tremble with dread upon learning that someone has chosen a specific personal injury lawyer to represent them. It is likewise not realistic to expect that once you hire a personal injury attorney for your settlement offer to automatically increase by a factor of 3.
Having said that, there is little doubt that hiring an experienced, competent personal injury lawyer to handle your claim can add significant value to you’re the case, and meaningfully increase your recovery. I would suggest to my prospective clients that the reaction I would prefer from the claims adjuster is not a tremulous quaking with dread upon learning that I had become involved in the case, but rather
...an acknowledgment that a previously unrepresented person has hired an experienced, professional and competent attorney who will negotiate earnestly and in good faith and if those negotiations are not successful, has the ability to and a long track record of taking cases to trial.
I’m perfectly content if I have a reputation with the insurance industry as an attorney who fights a hard, but fair, fight for his clients to get fair and just compensation for their injuries. I have little doubt, based on my 25 years of experience as an attorney that having a good lawyer in your corner increases your compensation. There is just no getting around the fact there are several things that a seasoned litigator brings to the table.
- Lawyers that work in the personal injury arena have a feel for and knowledge of how insurance companies evaluate cases. This experience and knowledge allow an attorney to assess a reasonable range of fair settlement value for a case.
- Personal injury attorneys that try their cases have a feel for and understanding of the results handed down by judges in District Court and juries in circuit courts in the various jurisdictions in Maryland and use this experience to advise clients of there likelihood of beating the settlement offer if they take their case to trial.
- Experienced lawyers are able to marshal evidence, present facts and set out legal arguments as to why their injured client is entitled to compensation- and significant compensation.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, veteran personal injury litigation attorneys have the ability, skills, knowledge, and experience to take a claim to court and be successful in doing so. Long-time injury and accident lawyers are familiar with the rules of procedure, familiar with the rules of evidence, and are familiar with the cases and statutes that set forth the legal principles applicable to their client case. Should good faith, earnest settlement discussions not be successful, it is this ability to try a case and to do so successfully, and a recognition by the insurance company that this ability exists that truly adds the most value to a personal injury claim.