Monday, August 30, 2010

They admitted the other driver was at fault! I don’t want a lawyer getting a piece of my settlement! Why won’t they settle?

We often hear from frustrated personal injury victims who don’t understand why an insurance company won’t just offer them a reasonable settlement when, after all, they’ve been injured and the other party was clearly at fault. Quite often people try to settle their claims without hiring an experienced injury attorney.

More often than not, by the time we meet with such clients, they tell us the insurance adjuster with whom they’ve been dealing has either A) made an unreasonable, insulting offer, or B) just keeps giving them the runaround.

Why should I give a car accident lawyer a percentage of my settlement when the law is on my side, you ask?

At the end of the day, insurance companies (and their adjusters) are above all else, trying to make a buck. Most seasoned insurance adjusters view unrepresented individuals as easy targets; they think that without an experienced personal injury defense attorney involved in the case, you will take whatever lowball offer they make.

An experienced auto accident law firm will know how to value a case, which means the right injury attorney will advise you on a reasonable settlement range. And if the insurance company doesn’t make a reasonable offer, your lawyer will tell you it’s unreasonable and advise you to go to trial.

Yes, this means that a percentage of your settlement will go to your personal injury defense attorney. But nine times out of ten, the adjuster you’re dealing with won’t begin to discuss a reasonable and appropriate settlement until they get a call from your lawyer – whether you’re in Portland, Vancouver, or Bend. Insurance companies know how to play people and they will do whatever they can to win.


  1. Okay, so what's stopping me from simply telling the insurance adjuster that I know how the game's played; that I won't be hiring an attorney but I still refuse to accept their lowball offer?

  2. Sure. You can always go that route. And there are certainly instances where people are able to obtain reasonable settlements without hiring a lawyer. But from our experience, they are few and far between. Regardless of what you say, most insurance adjusters will low ball you and/or avoid you until/unless you have counsel.

  3. I understand that I'll have a better chance of securing a reasonable/fair settlement if I'm represented by a lawyer who's experienced with auto injury claims. But I've heard that most firms get a third of the total settled-upon fugure. How common is it for a law firm to negotiate their rate?

  4. I consulted with an experienced attorney before retaining them but I said I was still going to try to settle the case on my own...well, everything that lawyer said the insurance company would do, they did, and I ended up coming back to retain that attorney after all when I could not get a reasonable offer (which is exactly what the lawyer said would happen)

  5. BOTTOM LINE: you've got to hire a good attorney!