Does Hiring an Attorney Help Create Higher Settlement Amounts?
We believe in supporting our clients to have them achieve the greatest settlement possible for their personal injury cases. Injury victims might wonder if they are better off handling their claims alone, thinking that they will be able to pocket more money from a possible settlement. However, the truth is not so simple. Attorneys, despite taking part in settlements, usually drive settlement amounts far higher than injury victims representing themselves.
How Can An Attorney Help?
Personal injury settlements are usually with insurance companies. Most personal injury cases result in a settlement instead of a lawsuit being filed. There are several factors that affect why attorneys are able to get higher settlement amounts than victims representing themselves. These factors include:
- Knowledge of insurance company tactics
- Knowledge of the fair market value of settlements
- Knowledge of evidence to collect
- Knowledge of the chances of success
- Knowledge of negotiation tactics
- Knowledge of legal theory and the legal system
Experienced attorneys can guide you on the right path to a big recovery. There are many pitfalls on the way to a settlement, including accepting settlement offers too early. Insurance companies often send lowball offers soon after accidents happen to try to resolve a case as soon as possible, to lower the amount of money they have to payout. This is the biggest factor that drives down settlement amounts for victims who do not hire attorneys. In the study, victims who did not negotiate their settlement amounts only got around $12k, whereas victims that negotiated, usually with the help of an attorney, recovered $42.5k.
When you’ve been injured, an attorney helps you find out the true value of your case based on the injuries you sustained, the fault of the defendant, and the amount of dispositive evidence you can collect.
Usually, insurance settlements should take a long time to negotiate and finally agree upon. This is for multiple reasons. The most pressing issue is you will not clearly know the amount of damage you are going to suffer for months after your accident. You may have injuries that flare up later, and you never know how many times you will have to visit the hospital just a month or two after your accident. Therefore, you should work with your attorney to collect all the necessary evidence and a total record of your damage before you agree to any settlement amount.
As stated before, attorneys can help drive up settlement amounts. A study found that the average amount of settlement payout was $17.6k while the average settlement payout with an attorney was a much higher $77.6k. Clearly, an attorney plays a large part in higher settlement amounts. There is also the question of how much of the settlement do lawyers take? The first thing to understand is contingency fees.
Most personal injury attorneys take cases on contingency. This means that they will fight on your side in your case, given the understanding that a portion of the final settlement amount will be theirs. You will agree in a legal document to pay out this contingency before you accept the representation of the attorney. In the study in the section above, the average amount of contingency taken out by attorneys was 32% of the settlement. Even with the contingency fee taken out, it was still found that the amount of settlement recovered by the plaintiff was still around three times higher than the amount of money plaintiffs were able to recover when they represented themselves.
We’re Here to Help
If you suffer an injury from a car accident, contact our attorneys at Combs and Brown, LLC today. We have decades of experience helping injury victims and we will be happy to set up a consultation with you.