Personal injury settlement mills advertise aggressively for new clients and settle claims quickly with minimal effort. These law firms rarely take cases to trial. They focus on higher claim volumes rather than successful client outcomes.
The Dangers of Settlement Mills
Personal injury settlement mills are law firms that focus on mass producing the settlement of injury claims. They launch aggressive advertising campaigns often seen on television to obtain large volumes of new clients that boost profits. In contrast to traditional personal injury law firms, settlement mills litigate a disproportionate amount of their cases and take very few cases to trial, so there is minimal interaction between attorneys and clients.
Insurance companies favor personal injury settlement mills because they settle claims quickly without filing injury lawsuits that can take months or years to resolve. Focused on high volumes and profits, settlement mills advertise different fee structures and use fewer attorneys to work on cases by delegating work to under-staffers like paralegals, law clerks, and case managers. Rather than pursuing lawsuits on behalf of their clients, settlement mills prefer fast settlement deals.
Settlement mill claims are typically settled based on going rates worked out by insurance claims adjusters and settlement mill negotiators. Claims are not independently assessed to make sure results are in the best interest of the client. Like workers’ compensation claims that use formulas and compensation tables, settlement mill claims use formulated compensation rates that are not tied to fault or severity of client injury.
Personal injury settlement mills do their clients a vast disservice by attempting to mass produce settlements, rather than working claims up to their full value which is in their clients’ best interest. Although settlement mills focus on fast settlement deals, they don’t provide clients with the same legal attention as traditional injury law firms due to several factors:
- An overwhelming volume of clients
- Lack of attorney/client interaction
- Lack of attorney involvement in claims
- Delegated work to inexperienced paralegals and law clerks
- Less follow-through on legal procedures
- Failure to send out monetary demands
Traditional injury lawyers and settlement mills both use contingency fees, meaning the attorney is only paid if compensation is recovered. However, settlement mills often accept cases with little or no merit which allows them to recover some money, even if their client does not. Insurance carriers take advantage of these firms because they focus on quick settlements without personal injury lawsuits.