One of the biggest mistakes we have seen people make, is the belief that the lower the percentage they pay, that means the more dollars they will put in their pockets at the end of a case. All lawyers are not created equal and the insurance carriers know it. When we receive inquiries and a victim of an accident is shopping for the lowest percentage of fee, based upon the belief that this will translate to more money in the client's pocket, we explain what we have said and tell them that if they are insistent, then we can and will refer them to a newbie lawyer who will charge a lower percentage. The reality is that the words "you get what you pay for" is so very true.
Whether the lawyer admits it or not, lawyers are in business and have overheads and they are in business to make a profit to pay for their office, their employees, their own insurance, their home mortgage and to provide for their families. When a lawyer has two cases to work on and if both cases will require the same amount of hours of work from beginning to end and if on one case the lawyer will receive (as an example) 10% of a $100,000 settlement or on the other case 25% of the same $100,000 settlement and knowing that there are only so many hours in the day to spend working on any case, which one do you believe the lawyer will spend his time working on? The one where at the end, he will stand to make a $10,000 fee or the one which, at the end, he will make a $25,000 fee? It is human nature. The lawyer needs the economic incentive and sometimes when a client agrees to a 10% fee, that lawyer might ultimately get a $100,000 offer and the more experienced lawyer with the track record and reputation, charging a 25% or 1/3 fee, might get a $1,000,000 offer. The fact that the client agreed to a higher percentage of fee, nevertheless results in a much greater net sum in his or her pocket. The percentage of the fee and the amount the client nets, generally have nothing to do with each other. There is no direct one-to-one relationship that translates to a lower percentage of fee, meaning a greater result for the client. Also, the lawyer with the track record and reputation and experience (that the insurer knows) may be able to get the case settled much sooner than the novice attorney learning on the job.
People who think they do not need the services of the experienced personal injury attorney, invariably find out the hard way that they should have chosen that right lawyer in the very beginning. When we see that despite our explanations, that the potential client has made up his mind to try to do it himself or herself or to try to save money shopping based on percentage (without regard to the things that really make the difference), we always tell that person to not be embarrassed to call us later on when they find out that we had provided them the right direction. Sometimes when that person returns to us, we can still fix all the damage that was done and still make the ultimate result what it should have been. Other times, unfortunately, it is too late and the damage has been done to such a degree, that no matter what we subsequently try to do to fix the problems that have been created, it is too late and once the damage is done, it will ultimately make that optimum result (that could have been had, if we had the case from the beginning) beyond the reach of any lawyer.