Michael A. Colbach
There are many Oregon personal injury attorneys out there, some are very good, but many are just in it for money and don't put their clients first. Many want to put in the least amount of effort in on your case and don't want to put their time and money into it. Some try hard and do their best, but don't have what it takes to make sure their clients get what they deserve. Many care more about marketing and running a "business" than taking care of their clients.
Verdicts are the only way to tell if someone has what it takes to get you what you deserve. You can't buy verdicts and you can't fake verdicts.
Insurance companies do not give money away. You have to take it from them. The only way to do this is with large jury verdicts or the threat of a large jury verdict.
Anyone can buy membership in organizations or have their friends review them online, but very few lawyers have what it takes to take your case to trial and get a big verdict.
Would you want a surgeon who had never performed as successful surgery?
Why would you hire a lawyer who had never had a six-figure verdict?
Do you want your case to be the one your lawyer learns on?
Do you want to hire a lawyer who has not tried a case in years?
I have had a number of insurance defense attorneys tell me that they have to pay my clients more because they know I will go to trial if they don't pay a fair amount. Insurance companies know the best predictor of future performance is past performance. If you hire a lawyer who does not go to trial, you will probably get less money and less respect from the insurance company.
Time and time again, I have heard other personal injury lawyers tell me that negotiating is the only way to resolve cases. That is just what the insurance companies want to hear. These lawyers always take what the insurance company offers them. Why hire a lawyer if all they are willing to do is write a letter and make a few phone calls? Many, many times, I have seen insurance companies significantly increase their offer because a lawsuit was filed. If they know you are serious, they are more likely to pay a fair amount.
If all your personal injury lawyer is willing to do is write a letter, why not just do that yourself?
Most of the time I spend on my cases is preparing them for trial. Filing lawsuits takes time and money, and many lawyers do not want to commit either to your case. I believe I earn my money by preparing your case for trial. I spend many hours talking to doctors, expert witnesses, my investigator, and others, to make sure I can prove your case. Preparing a case for trial is a lot of work and expense, but if I don't do it, my clients are stuck taking whatever the insurance company offers.
Most personal injury lawyers base their fee on the entire settlement amount. If your bills are $66,666 and the settlement is $100,000, they get $33,333 and you get nothing. This does not seem fair to me. I base my fees on what is left after your medical bills are paid. I do not know how other lawyers justify taking a fee bigger than what their clients get, but most do, significantly reducing how much money their clients get.
There are a number of personal injury lawyers in Oregon who run high volume, low quality personal injury practices. Their goal is to get you sign up and then to get your case settled with the least amount of effort. A lawyer at one of these firms once told me that, "we don't get the most for our cases, but the insurance adjusters sure like us."
Insurance adjusters and insurance lawyers know who these lawyers are and pay their clients less.
My practice is based around a low volume of higher quality cases. I personally do the intake for every client. I keep my caseload low, so I can maximize what every client gets.
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