Short answer: Statistically you will receive more money for your auto accident with an attorney than without one. No insurance company represents the best interests of auto accident victims who were not at-fault. The insurance company is only required to defend at-fault drivers in an auto accident.
• “Injured people recover 3 ½ times more when they were represented by a lawyer.” (-2004 Insurance Research Council study)
• The 2003 IRC internal document [Auto Injury Insurance Claims: Countrywide Patterns in Treatment, Cost, and Compensation Malvern, PA: December 2003] to its member insurance companies. On page 112, the IRC’s data showed the vast majority of dollars paid out to bodily injury claims are paid out to claimants who retain attorneys. Injured people with representation (less than 1/2 of claimants) received 79% of all liability payouts.
• A 1999 study by the nonprofit Insurance Resource Council also concluded that insurance payouts are on average 3.5 times higher for people who have hired an attorney.
• According to the 1999 Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims, injured people represented by an attorney received an average of 40% more money than those representing themselves. (“Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims,” Insurance Research Council, 1999, pg. 45-52)
• In 1995, Allstate’s claim adjusters training manual [Allstate Insurance Co., Unrepresented Segment Training Manual, July 1995] emphasized to its adjusters the importance of convincing claimants not retain an attorney. Allstate explained its position with statistics: for settlements under $15,000 injured claimants represented by an attorney averaged $7,450 in a total settlement. Those who represented themselves in their claims averaged only $3,464. People with an attorney for a small claim on average more than doubled (a 115% increase) the likelihood of a better settlement. The manual also indicated that overall personal injury victims with attorneys recovered 2 to 3 times more than self-represented claimants.
• In 1980, a study was conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo, “Settled Out Of Court: The Social Process of Insurance Claims Adjustment,” by H. Laurence Ross. The study focused on the effects of attorney representation and the average recovery one could expect to receive because of such representation. From the study, the average recovery of represented claimants was found to be from 4 to 12 times as high as that of the unrepresented claimant.
What if my case is not worth a whole lot? Is it worth it for me to hire an attorney or should I go to small claims court? There are attorney fee provisions under some statutes such as ORS 20.080 that apply after a lawsuit is filed. These attorney fee provisions help maximize value for cases worth $10,000.00 or less. If the case is filed after a 30-day demand letter and arbitrated and the arbitration award is higher than what the insurance company offered, then attorney fees and costs are awarded. The threat of attorney’s fees causes many cases to settle for higher amounts after a demand is sent by an attorney with a threat of attorney’s fees under ORS 20.080.
What is unique about Clark Law and Associates, LLC based out of Portland, Oregon? We can handle both Oregon and Washington Auto Accident cases. See our Home Auto Accident Page for details regarding why you should hire our firm.
Author and law professor, Jay Feinman, calls it the 3 D’s: Delay, Deny, and Defend. According to Feinman’s 2010 book, this strategy makes billions of dollars for insurance company shareholders by denying legitimate claims. (Feinman, Jay M., “Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It,” Penguin/Portfolio Publishing, New York, NY, 2010) As the book explains, if you are hurt in a minor accident, these companies will delay handling your claim, deny that you were injured and defend their position by forcing people to litigate their case in order to obtain reasonable compensation for their injuries.
Below are links that explain insurance tactics:
Keeping them honest: Insurance Battle
Claim delays and Industry Profits
Outrunning the Lawyers, A Race to Settle Claims
Only an experienced personal injury attorney can help level the playing field. If the insurance company knows that a law firm can and will file a lawsuit and even go to trial if a reasonable settlement is not made, insurance companies are forced to pay fair settlements or incur the costs of litigation. At Clark Law and Associates, LLC our interests are aligned with yours. If you get paid more, we get paid more. Let us deal with the insurance adjusters in Oregon and/or Washington State so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. We have experience in dealing with insurance adjusters and knowledge of the law and legal procedures.