Made Up Billboard lawyer in The Inland EmpireI take some risk at exposing big advertising budget law firms and their legal services agreements to the light of truth.  However, I believe those who need a personal injury lawyer should be aware of the cost of hiring a big law firm with its billboards along every freeway, or the lawyer that advertises over and over on local television and radio stations.  Here are several facts that you need to know before deciding on which law firm is best for your Inland Empire personal injury claim.

The Cost Of All Those Billboards, Television and Radio Ads Are Expensive

It should come as no surprise to anyone that to place a bunch of billboards along a busy freeway, or to place television or radio ads are expensive.  It is also true that a single billboard or a single television or radio ad is ineffective to getting the name of the law firm affixed to the consumer’s memory. Thus, multiple billboards, radio and television ads are required to make a dent in the subconscious mind of the future personal injury victim in need of legal services.  Consider the fact that when you are driving on the freeway passing a lawyer’s billboards, you are not likely in need of legal services at that very moment (unless you had an accident below one of those billboards).  The purpose of a billboard is to get you to think about that law firm when, in some future date, you need a personal injury lawyer.  This is called name branding.  The law firm’s hope is that the slogans, images and claims of being the best or #1 lawyer in Southern California will be so impressed in your subconscious mind that you will remember to call the easy to remember number, remember the jingle, or you will just think to contact that particular lawyer with your personal injury claim.  Television and radio ads played over and over are designed to have the same effect on your mind when you need a personal injury lawyer.  

3 Tips About Name Branding Which Should Be Important To You As A Consumer Of Personal Injury Legal Services

  1. Before you have a need for legal services, these billboard lawyers have spent massive amounts of money trying to get your attention.  As a result, the advertising overhead has already been spent, and continues to be spent, attempting to attract you as a personal injury client.  If you choose to hire another law firm, that expense has to be made up on the back of another future client.  Thus, marketing overhead has to be built into the legal services agreement, which means, you end up paying for those costs by way of higher legal fees and costs built into the personal injury legal services agreement. The advertising cost is only one portion of the law firm’s expense that has to be made up through the personal injury clients.  Consider the high cost of downtown buildings with the high cost of rentals for those expensive offices, multiple attorneys, paralegals and support staff, just to name a few additional costs.
  2. In order to manage the overhead costs, there is an inherent need to process a case quickly to increase revenue for the firm by increasing the volume of cases handled by the firm and decreasing the time an active case is on their books.  It is no different from a restaurant where if a table turns more than five times during the night, the restaurant is going to make more money than if the table only turns more than three times in a night.  The customer experience may be substantially different between a table rushed through the meal to get more customers in and out of the business, versus the table that allows its customers to enjoy the dining experience.  While processing a personal injury claim is not necessarily enjoyable, some clients need more time and attention to adequately address their needs.  A personal injury victim truly needs to feel like they have someone who cares about them and is willing to give them the time they need to heal and to move past the injury and into recovery.  By turning cases over quickly, sometimes the healing experience gets bypassed for the sake of expediency in settling the case. 
  3. Larger firms have basic quotas for their lower tiered staff to settle a certain number of cases within a certain period of time.  The incentive might not to be to the benefit of the injury victim, but by resolving the case promptly, the big law firms get settlement funds in the door to offset those heavy monthly costs, and the employee gets bonuses for expeditiously settling cases.  As one personal injury client comes onboard, another must be resolved and removed from the active client list in order to make sure the cash flow is there to support all the infrastructure and overhead.

Billboard, TV, And Radio Lawyers Often Use Tiered Legal Services Agreements Which Can Be Manipulated To Increase Their Fee Recovery

I have personally seen several of the big firm legal services agreements when clients have come to our firm after being dissatisfied with the representation they were getting from some of these large advertising law firms.  These agreements often start with an introductory rate of 25% of the recovery.  This introductory rate has a short time for it to be operative, generally about 90 days.  If the case is resolved within 90 days, the firm recovers 25% of the settlement.  In most instances, an injured person is unable to heal in the first 90 days following the collision or injury.  Unless the personal injury victim is going to settle without knowing the full extent of the injury, the case most often does not settle within 90 days.  

The next level of recovery is 33% or one third of the recovery.  This percentage is also of limited duration.  This percentage might expire when the lawyer decides to file the case at which time the fee jumps to 40% with doing very little additional work.  The big firm rules might be that a case must be resolved within 90 days, or the case will be filed within 120 days from intake.  In a matter of just a few months, the personal injury victim’s fees jump from 25% to 40%.  For a case worth $100,000.00, that is an additional fee of $15,000.00 coming off the top of the client’s settlement.

Finally, the fees can then jump again to 45% once the case is set for trial and 50% if the matter proceeds to trial.  

This fee structure is designed to pay for those high overhead costs.  They are not designed for the benefit of the personal injury client who hires these firms.

Please keep in mind that these fees are exclusive of costs incurred by the law firm to prosecute the case and exclusive of the cost of medical care that must be paid for from the recovery.  These costs and expenses can add a substantial additional burden on the client’s percentage of the recovery.

Some Large And Small Personal Injury Law Firms May Refer Out Their Cases

Some law firms have certain minimum values for the cases they handle, or they may believe that referring out a case to another law firm and getting a referral fee in return is a better financial return than handling the case internally.  As a result, a client may believe they are retaining one law firm, when in fact they are referred to a separate law firm to handle their case, either from its inception or at any step along the way to trial.

For Someone Who Needs A Personal Injury Attorney, Here Are The Considerations Before Hiring A Billboard, Television Or Radio Attorney

  1. The cost to you will generally be higher than hiring a local Inland Empire personal injury attorney who has lower overhead and costs in its operation.
  2. All legal service fee agreements are not the same.  Do not be afraid to shop around to find the right attorney for you and your individual needs.
  3. Ask lots of questions to make sure you are comfortable about how your case will be handled and who will be handling your case from beginning to the end.
  4. Be proactive in your case and what is best for you.

Contact Our Inland Empire Personal Injury Law Firm for a Free Consultation

If you were involved in a car collision, slip and fall incident, dog bite injury or a medical negligence claim, due to the fault of another, contact Inland Empire Law Group for a no cost-free consultation. We can and will answer any questions you may have about your personal injury case.  Schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation, by contacting us online or calling our office at 909-481-0100 or toll-free at 888-694-3529.  THIS WILL BE A CALL YOU WON’T REGRET.

David Ricks
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Rancho Cucamonga Personal Injury Lawyer Serving the Inland Empire Community
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