If you are a Washington vehicle accident victim you need to know the answer to this question. A law firm that operates as a "Personal Injury Mill" takes any and all injury cases with little regard to whether a case is frivolous or not because they almost never file a lawsuit on a case. Instead a PI mill will settle nearly every case as quickly as possible for whatever they can get, and if can't be settled they usually refer the case to another attorney who actually goes to trial or just dumps the case altogether. These firms generally advertise nonstop on late night TV.
Nora Freeman Engstrom wrote a great article for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics titled Run-of-the-Mill Justice. She wrote about several real life personal injury mill law firms, even naming a few names along the way. Ms. Engstrom found the injury mill firms are "characterized by their high claim volume, aggressive advertising, significant delegation to non-attorneys, entrepreneurial focus, and quick resolution of claims, typically without initiation of suit."
I found the article truly fascinating. Of particular interest was the idea that injury mills create a "cookie cutter" (my words, not hers) kind of justice. Under this system, individualized pain and suffering has little relevance for settlement purposes. What matters, then, for injury settlement purposes in a common soft tissue injury case is the amount of the medical bills, what the injuries are, and how much damage was done to the vehicles. Any personalized attention as to how each client was affected by the injuries is left out and sacrificed in the interest of speeding the case into a settlement. Injury mills do not plan to file a lawsuit in any case and the insurance companies know this. So there is no threat of being held ultimately accountable by a jury. Because of this all cases are marginalized.
Why is this important? Because if you have a case involving serious injuries, something more than just soft tissue/whiplash type injuries, then your case will not get the results it should if it were in the hands of a personal injury attorney who will file a lawsuit and go to trial before a jury. An injury mill law firm will not wait for you to heal completely and finish treatment of your accident related injuries. They will not investigate the accident fully to make sure all witnesses have been interviewed. They will not have multiple conversation with you, your family, and your doctors to determine the full extend of your unique experiences coping with the various difficulties associated with recovering from serious injuries. Most importantly, they will not file a lawsuit and take the case to trial. Insurance companies know this and pay less in settlements to people with serious injuries.
That's why if you have been seriously injured in a car, motorcycle or bicycle accident you owe it to yourself to get as much information about the Washington injury claim process. A great place to start is by ordering your Free copy of "The Guide to Washington Injury Cases."
If you want a quick settlement for whatever money you can get, then hire a personal injury mill to handle your case in the cookie cutter method. But if you want personalized attention for your case from an attorney who is looking out for you and trying to maximize the value of your case, there is a simple answer: hire an experienced Washington injury attorney who will file suit and request a jury trial. When you choose to hire an attorney who files lawsuits and goes to trial, you can be assured that the insurance company is either going to pay at least a reasonable value on your case or it is going to go to trial where a jury is going to give you the fair value of your case. The choice is yours, choose wisely!
Max Meyers, Esq.