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Articles Tagged with settlement mill

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Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysI recently wrote a post titled How Settlement Mill Lawyers Harm Car Accident Victims:  You Hired A LAWYER But Did NOT Receive One. In that article I discussed a real problem with settlement mill law firms. At settlement mill law firms, all the work and attention is performed by staff members instead of lawyers. Injury victims think they are getting a lawyer but they are not.

After writing that article, I read a Florida case where this issue almost cost a client tremendously. What happened? A car accident victim hired a law firm. The firm gathered his medical records. The firm then sent a quick demand letter to the insurance company, State Farm. Because the injured client’s bills were substantial, the firm intended to demand the full policy limits of $100,000. Oops! Instead, the firm’s letter demanded only $10,000 to settle the case. Apparently, the lawyer never read the demand letter. In settlement mill law firms, a “legal assistant” or “case manager” often writes and communicates with the insurance company. Where is the lawyer? That’s a good question. Some settlement mill firms function like assembly lines handling a volume of cases. The work product is bad. If you are hurt, you deserve to have a lawyer working your case. When State Farm received the letter offering to accept $10,000 instead of $100,000, it quickly responded by accepting in writing.

What a potential disaster! What happened next? The parties had to litigate the issue through Florida’s courts. In the end, an appellate court in Florida saved the client by holding that no settlement contract existed because of the mistake. The injured person dodged a terrible result and salvaged his case. The law firm dodged a terrible result and a potential malpractice issue.

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Personal Injury Lawyer In HuntsvilleYou’ve seen and heard all the lawyer promises. From billboards to television, they ask you to call. Some of them even yell their requests. It’s really a terrible way to find a good personal injury lawyer. Instead, you should research your options. Talk to people you trust. Look for an attorney who will work hard to prepare your case.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing several ways settlement mill law firms harm their clients. Settlement mills are those law firms that mass advertise for a volume of cases that can be quickly settled. For them, it’s not about the client relationship. It’s not about building a case for its maximum value and recovery. It’s all about volume.

In recent posts, I discussed the secret arrangements many advertising lawyers have with a specific chiropractor. Like an assembly line, clients are referred to a specific chiropractor who runs up medical bills. In the end, the client suffers. How? These clients do not get the real treatment needed. And, at the end of the case, they are left paying their settlement money to the chiropractor. I’m not attacking all chiropractors or lawyers – just the ones involved in this terrible practice.

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Huntsville Car Accident LawyersI know. You are probably asking why a lawyer would reject a good case. But, many settlement mill lawyers do reject good cases. Why? These settlement mill lawyers are NOT willing to go to court. Sometimes, good cases require you to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, good cases require a little work.

We believe in case preparation. And, we believe in going to court when needed for our clients. We believe hard work builds the best results for our injured clients.

In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts discussing ways billboard settlement mill lawyers harm their injured clients. During the over two decades I’ve practiced personal injury law, I’ve received countless phone calls from people who have been victimized by a settlement mill lawyer. We have many excellent lawyers in our community. They have also seen and heard many horror stories of the harm caused by the few settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards and televisions.

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Alabama Car Accident AttorneysIf you’ve read my prior articles, you know my opinion — Billboard lawyers often harm their personal injury clients. As lawyers, our job is to help our clients. We should put first our clients’ interests. Yet, many billboard lawyers help themselves at their clients’ expense.

How do settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards harm their personal injury clients? Over the coming weeks, I’m going to write posts discussing several ways these advertising lawyers often harm their injured clients. Today, I’ll talk about the sweetheart arrangements many of these settlement mill lawyers have with a specific chiropractor to profit from your injuries.

Here’s how the sweetheart deal between the billboard lawyer and a specific chiropractor works. You suffer a car accident injury and call the billboard lawyer. You probably don’t meet with the actual billboard lawyer. That’s a different issue we’ll discuss in a later post. You probably meet with an “investigator,” “runner” or other staff member. Once you sign the contract, the billboard lawyer wants you to see a specific chiropractor. His chiropractor. That chiropractor will then run-up the charges for your visits. The billboard lawyer will use these exorbitant charges to try and negotiate a deal with the insurance company to settle your claim. It’s an assembly line process designed so the billboard lawyer spends as little time as possible working on your file. That billboard lawyer simply wants to make a few phone calls. And, in many volume law firms, a staff member is actually making the calls. You get zero service from the lawyer.

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https://www.alabamainjurylawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2020/06/Buyer-Beware-Read-The-Contract.-300x300.pngThrough the years, we have handled many Alabama personal injury claims where the client initially hired another lawyer. Many of the lawyers smiling from billboards and television will NOT work on their cases. Many of these advertising lawyers will NOT go to trial. So, it’s not unusual for people to hire a billboard lawyer and later need another attorney. Many of the dedicated trial lawyers I know will tell you the same thing — They frequently review cases mishandled by billboard lawyers.

We recently reviewed a workers’ compensation case in Athens where the injured person started with one of these advertising lawyers. She hired the lawyers. When they realized her case might require some actual courtroom work, they let her go. I guess I should more accurately say they tried to talk her into settling for peanuts then let her go when she refused. We reviewed her file. When we looked at her contingent fee contract with these billboard lawyers, we saw that it contained a $500 administrative fee. What? That’s outrageous.

Why were these billboard lawyers charging an administrative fee? The contract did not say. The truth — It was simply another way to gouge their client without giving good service. Do you really think the firm was going to incur $500 of telephone and postage costs in a local work comp case? Maybe they were trying to recoup the costs of their billboards? Regardless, they were already charging the customary contingency fee for handling these cases.

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Last month, I published a post about a local DUI law firm that suddenly started advertising for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Suddenly, billboards for that firm appeared along major Huntsville area roads. I’ve written many times that I would never hire a billboard lawyer for a serious case. I’ve seen many skilled courtroom lawyers and legal scholars during the two decades I’ve practiced personal injury work. None of them advertise on billboards.

Attorney ads are everywhere. It’s simple – You pay a marketer. You pose for a photograph. You claim expertise. You can even purchase some fake awards to bolster your credentials. Most lawyers receive daily junk mail offers to sell them plaques. The opportunities to buy vanity awards are endless.

In my last post, I asked “What about websites?” I believe websites should provide good educational material for legal consumers. I think the purposes should be (1) to provide educational information; and, (2) to convey the authenticity of your business. That’s why I wrote the legal articles on my website. I’m sure my articles contain a few grammatical errors. Maybe a professional content writer would write them differently. When you hire a lawyer (or any other professional) it’s personal. We want consumers to know the real firm (the person they are actually hiring), not what a ghostwriter says. We also want to provide skilled information for people who need help. I write about areas of the law I’ve studied and practiced for years. I don’t write about other areas of the law where I lack expertise. Nor do I try to market for clients in those other specialties. I don’t think it’s right to do so. People with legal issues deserve better.

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Untitled-design-3-1-300x300Billboards. Television. Radio. Lawyer ads are everywhere. Anyone can smile and claim expertise! It’s much more difficult to perform the study and hard work necessary to win a complicated case. I’ve written previously that I would never hire a billboard lawyer for a serious case.

What about websites? I believe websites should contain good information for consumers. That’s why I wrote all the articles on my firm website. Unfortunately, too many lawyers purchase websites without writing or reviewing them for accuracy. Those sites contain canned content and marketing hype. Are you getting correct legal information? Are you getting the lawyer you thought you hired? These are big problems for people who need legal help.

For example, a local Huntsville DUI firm suddenly decided it wanted to advertise for personal injury and elder law cases. That firm created new billboards and a new website for their new specialties. Yet, one look at their website raises serious concerns. Their website has a Personal Injury page. Click on it. It looks nice. But, read to the bottom. That’s where you see the Disclaimer. What? Why do they need a disclaimer?

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We-Prepare-300x300What is the most common lie in workers’ compensation claims? A lawyer in another state recently discussed this question on his blog. His conclusion:

I thought long and hard about that one.  Unfortunately there are many to choose from.  But I think the biggest is from lawyers who will do anything to sign a case up.

That lawyer was certainly correct in his conclusion – “there are many to choose from.” In my practice, I frequently deal with employers and insurance carriers who are less than honest on many issues. These include return to work issues, medical care, termination of employment, and disability benefits owed. In fact, the list of issues is too great for one blog post. So, I’ll focus on the topic of promises to sign up the case.

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Untitled-design-3-300x169Client service. I’ve spent lots of time lately thinking about client service. Perhaps it’s the recent news Walgreens received an $80 Million fine after allegations the chain allowed huge numbers of dangerous narcotic painkillers on the black market. Maybe you are asking – What does this fine have to do with my thoughts on client service? After all, the pharmacy business and legal business are very different. While different in many ways, both are professional businesses. Both businesses should help people in need. For both, patients (or clients) seek professionals who will provide guidance and expertise.

Does anyone really think flooding the market with narcotic pain pills serves patients and communities? Absolutely not. It only serves the need for fast profit. But, I did not write this to pick on Walgreens. And, let’s be clear — the fine related to the chain’s misconduct outside Alabama. Yet, issues with thousands upon thousands of unaccounted narcotic pills give me pause.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve had the pleasure of representing several independent pharmacies in the Huntsville area. So, I’ve learned a little about this business. Standing in one of these independent pharmacy stores, I see a pharmacist who knows each customer by name. Each customer matters to him. The pharmacist greets each customer. His pharmacy is a personal business helping patients. It’s NO assembly line of pill dispensing. Can you say the same for some large chains?

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In a past article, I discussed a study that revealed work related illnesses and injuries cost at least $250 billion a year. My prior post raises the question — Why does our system not focus on safety? A small investment in safety would pay huge returns.

Our current system fails to invest in safety. While workers are penalized for some unsafe conduct, the system does nothing to the few reckless employers who cause most of the injuries. The most reckless and dangerous employers suffer no penalties under Alabama workers’ compensation laws. They suffer no penalties causing them to lose lucrative government contracts. They suffer almost no penalties from OSHA which is overstressed, understaffed and rarely inspects unsafe worksites. Unless we focus on real safety by penalizing reckless employers, we will continue to see far too many work related injuries.

What is the cost of occupational accidents and injuries to reckless and unsafe employers? At worst, the injury may result in some type of premium increase for work comp coverage? A recent UC Davis study showed that the majority of workplace injury and illness costs are not even paid through workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, these costs are simply shifted to the government. Think taxpayers like us! When it comes right down to it, reckless and unsafe employers dispose of their workers by shifting the costs of accidents and disabilities to the taxpayer.

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