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Problems to Solve: Top 8 Challenges of Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorneys are legal experts always ready to help citizens, corporations, or government agencies with their legal matters and disputes. It is not easy to become a professional lawyer; after studying law and passing the bar exam, an attorney gets the license for the practice.
Among different types of lawyers specialized in their field of expertise are personal injury lawyers that face several problems in almost every case. From small cases to the worst, complicated ones, they need to do a lot of research, groundwork, which is even more difficult when you are solo practitioners with no paralegal support.
Even today, when social distancing is the top priority, personal injury attorneys face a myriad of challenges while putting the best effort into securing their client base.
Common Challenges Personal Injury Attorneys Face Today
1. The Delay of Jury Trials
The most noteworthy setback has been the delay of jury trials. Giving a client his or her day in court is often the only way to force an insurance company to compensate a client fairly. This delay has given the insurance companies the opportunity to delay justice by refusing to negotiate cases that have been continued.
Personal injury lawyers are finding creative ways to combat the ‘running out the clock’ by the insurance companies. For instance, in some cases, ‘putting deadlines on demands and then withdrawing them’ can work. In other cases, agreeing to binding arbitration can work. Sometimes, the best strategy is to continue a case early with the hope of getting a trial date right after the jury trials resume.
As the state and local administrative orders indefinitely suspend jury trials, there is presently no timeframe for any civil jury trials, such as personal injury.
2. Political Control
Over the last two decades, lawmakers have passed many laws that limit liability when someone gets injured or killed by the negligence of another person or entity. This has happened and continues to happen, which most people do not notice until they need legal help.
Consequently, lawyers have been forced to refuse to help many injured people over the years. As a direct result, many seriously injured people or those who have lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence most times are unable to find a lawyer that accepts their case.
There are so many laws that have been revised to significantly devalue injury or death cases, from premises liability to medical malpractice, to auto accident, to defective products, which generally reduces the amount of money injured people should be compensated with. This is a big challenge for personal injury lawyers trying to obtain client satisfaction.
3. Protecting the Law Firm
COVID 19 has dramatically decreased the number of personal injury cases. It is because fewer people are commuting to their workplace, to socialize, and for dining and entertainment purposes, resulting in fewer miles traveled and fewer accidents.
The challenge here is not only about protecting attorneys and staff from the virus but also about protecting the firm’s financial strength. Adding to that, many people who have cases are unwilling to travel to their lawyer’s office for an in-person consultation, limiting business opportunities.
Firms that offer online video conferences are at a distinct advantage. In the future, documents will likely be submitted online to support claims, such as tax files, to support lost wage claims. Many law firms have adopted remote work and also utilizing home office capabilities.
4. Difficult to Win Cases against Insurers having Legal Advantages
Another significant challenge is fighting court cases against insurance companies that are less willing to pay reasonable settlement sums.
Their data and algorithms indicate that it is worth looking into the case in a trial, or hoping that the plaintiff’s attorney won’t push the case that far. On the other side, health insurance companies are more aggressively pursuing their subrogation liens, and federal ERISA law has given many of them an insurmountable advantage.
These factors make it more difficult to get new personal injury cases, harder to settle for fair amounts, and result in the client and attorney getting a smaller net settlement after everything is done.
5. The Competitive Nature of the Personal Injury Profession
The biggest challenge personal injury attorneys face today is the competitive nature of the profession. When an individual is injured in an accident, there are more than many options for personal injury attorneys. Television, radio, billboards, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the back of buses – everywhere a potential client looks, a personal injury attorney is trying to get business.
As a personal injury attorney, you often need to evaluate how you can stand out, how you can drive business, and how you can compete with the big-spender advertisers of personal injury. Yes, this becomes daunting and unachievable at times.
Personal injury lawyers need to be both professional and personal while handling clients. Not every client wants a big firm with the advertised “big” results. Not every client is comfortable calling an office where they do not know who they will be working with on their case. Besides and most importantly, not every client wants what you have to offer, either. The competitive nature of the profession is one of the biggest challenges for today’s personal injury lawyers.
6. Difficulty in Reaching Masses
For small personal injury law firms, one of the biggest challenges is getting their message out to potential clients. There are many large firms with unlimited budgets to advertise continually. You can see them on TV and hear about them on the radio all the time. While small law firms can promote their firm on social media, unfortunately, it still does not have the reach that mass media does.
If we talk about client service, small law firms give clients personal service, such as actually meeting your attorney. Many large law firms might not offer the same level of services. For example, in case you are shopping, you might initially think about going to the big box store because you know it and you feel like it is the best option, but your friend tells you about a small boutique that has more unique items and helpful workers.
Now you might think about what if those small boutiques are more expensive. Most law firms make money on a contingent fee basis, with that fee being the same percentage across the majority of firms. Regardless of the fee being almost the same, the real struggle lies in reaching the masses and obtaining potential clients.
7. Helping Clients amid Changing Circumstances
Currently, personal injury lawyers face new, unique challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has affected the insurance industry, and many non-emergency ground court proceedings are postponed. Some claimants are justifiably frightened of seeking non-emergency medical care when COVID-19 infections continue to rise. Others are financially strained, which makes low settlement offers more enticing than they would be under normal circumstances.
Looming trial dates often motivate insurance companies to put their best offers on the table. Unfortunately, the odds of having a civil jury trial within the next year are slim, and there is little incentive for insurance companies to pay claims.
Personal injury attorneys are challenged to advise their clients as best they can, under the ever-changing circumstances. While many lawyers and law firms take help from litigation support services to reduce the time-consuming workload, such as paperwork and research, some are left with a tough situation that makes their job more complicated. Despite court closures and limited legal support resources, they also have the responsibility to use creative solutions to move cases forward.
8. The Dependence upon Technology
The challenges personal injury attorneys face largely remain the same. Getting new, quality leads, ensuring your clients are receiving the proper medical care they require, and hiring investigators to obtain witness statements and supporting evidence are still issues they face.
However, COVID-19 has presented new, additional challenges for personal injury attorneys, especially when it comes to litigating files. Many aspects of litigation, such as court hearings, depositions, and mediations, have been impacted by COVID-19. They have left personal injury attorneys scrambling to properly work-up a file safely and healthily.
Many phases of litigation, like depositions, for example, can be conducted virtually via teleconferencing apps. However, preparing a client for their deposition is always most beneficial when done in person. Using technology to litigate files effectively is the biggest challenge personal injury attorneys are facing today.
From a business standpoint, among other problems, the biggest challenge is also stiff competition for new clients. An ad in the yellow pages simply won’t get it. Personal injury law can be lucrative, and attorneys are increasingly making huge advertising investments to attract potential clients. That starts on the internet, with Google pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, and other marketing strategies.
While lawyers work on getting more business opportunities, we, at Cogneesol, support them with the back-office functions they often don’t like to manage. Our litigation support for personal injury lawyers is comprehensive and customizable. We have professionals who can help you with the most complicated cases and support you while you walk the path to victory in the courtroom. To more about our services, contact us today.
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