Ken dishes on “settlement mills” – what they are and how you can avoid them
Lawyers are everywhere. They’re on TV, promising you money—fast! They advertise all over the Internet, telling you to call toll-free numbers like “SU4-CASH, CAR-HURT, WIN-CASH, WIN-4YOU, 1RU-HURT, UIN-PAIN,” and more. But how legitimate are these law firms? Can they make good on their promises? Or are they what’s known as “settlement mills”?
In a recent interview, Ken Gibson of GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys spoke about settlement mills and why people should avoid them.
Ken: “Let me say at the outset that there are some big law firms out there that have excellent lawyers. They work hard for their clients, and they get good results.
“But there are other firms that have this label: settlement mills. They are firms that are all about volume. They want to get as much volume as they can, as many clients as possible into their firm. They settle their clients’ claims at a lower value than the case is worth.”
Note: How many cases do settlement mills handle? Stanford Law Professor Nora Freeman Engstrom tackled the epidemic in her paper, “Run-of-the-Mill Justice.” She found that eight settlement mills together handled more than 7,000 cases every year—that’s about 1,000 claims each in a 12-month period. By comparison, a regular personal injury firm will have about 70 open cases a year. Settlement mills on average juggle 200 to 300 open files a day, and serve from 300 to 400 clients a year!
Ken: “It’s easier to settle a case than to go to trial. It’s easier than pushing the case forward into litigation and making the insurance company work for the case. And what happens is the client gets short-changed because they’re not getting the personalized, individual attention that I think our firm offers.”
Note: Around 95 percent of lawsuits are resolved in pre-trial settlements, according to The Law Dictionary. Your personal injury case has a one in 20 chance of going all the way to a judge and jury.
Ken: “Settling can save you expensive court costs, and take less time, and we always try to settle our clients’ cases quickly and effectively. But being willing to go to trial—and having a tough lawyer who will stand beside you—often makes the insurance company back down and offer you much more than they would have otherwise. Why? Because juries tend to favor you, the victim.”
Note: The majority of cases that do go to trial end in victory for the plaintiff!
Ken: “We’re a smaller firm. We have three attorneys and several staff members. We want to give each case individual attention. And we’re willing to take the case all the way to trial, if necessary, to get the full value of the case.”
These settlement mills make money by taking on a lot of cases and settling them quickly, taking a huge chunk of the victims’ money. Insurance companies are often eager to settle, because they have to pay their defense lawyers hourly, and juries can award generous verdicts to injury victims.
If you’ve been injured, you want an attorney who gives your case personal and undivided attention. That’s not what you get with a settlement mill, but it is what you’ll get from the experienced and compassionate legal team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Call our Gloucester office at (804) 413-6777 to set up your free consultation.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.