The insurance adjuster for your car collision will never tell you that the insurance industry’s own research establishes that people who are represented by a personal injury attorney on average end up recovering almost three and one-half times more than people who try to settle with the insurance company on their own. And, because all an attorney can help you recover is compensation for your actual losses, that means that the insurance companies are convincing people to settle for less than the losses they incurred.
For example, the Insurance Research Council (IRC), did a comprehensive study comparing the value of settlements people received for the same injury when they were represented by an attorneys versus when they did not have a lawyer. The IRC is a division of the American Institute for CPCU and the Insurance Institute of America. It is funded by the big insurance companies.
The IRC determined that people who were represented by an attorney received almost three and one-half times more, even after the attorney’s fees were paid.
This followed on 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.
The insurance data has been consistent over the years. Back in 1995, Allstate’s claim adjusters training manual [Allstate Insurance Co., Unrepresented Segment Training Manual, July 1995] contained similar conclusions. In it the company emphasized to its adjusters the importance to the company’s bottom line of convincing claimants to represent themselves and not retain an attorney. Allstate explained its position with a number of telling statistics: For example, 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 against Allstate averaged only $3,464. Thus, people with n 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 generally recovered 2 to 3 times more than self-represented claimants. No wonder Allstate doesn’t want to encourage claimants to get an attorney.
The insurance industry numbers are clear. On average, having an attorney does increase the settlement payout to the claimant, even after the legal fees are deducted from the final settlement.
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