I am guessing that most personal injury firms are in the process of refilling their pipelines like I am after two years of pandemic wearing off. This does not manifest itself too much to the client. Really, the work is the same now as it was before pandemic. But, for me and my competitor colleagues, it means that cases are coming in more regularly, and there are green shoots or lights at the end of the tunnel etc. Anecdotally, colleagues were telling me that all personal injury was down during and immediately after pandemic. My average case has about a 9-month lifetime from intake to settlement. The stronger cases usually take about 3 years to settle from intake to settlement being finalized. Stronger cases take longer because they must be filed in court to accrue full value.
The funny thing about what I do that is different from most lawyering is that I can meet with a client shortly after a fall or crash or whatnot and have no idea what the case looks like, who I am talking to, what their situation is etc. In regular commercial litigation or most areas of the law, a first meeting with a client is a big event and both the client and the work and potential for payment have to be vetted before both sides are willing to work together on a case. For me and my fellow personal injury lawyers, we never have the luxury of time to sit and ponder and evaluate before signing a client up. In my world, if I don’t sign the client up, someone else will by the next morning. Plus, most clients have no idea if their case is hard, easy, or in between. Usually, they just know that they need a lawyer and someone else is at fault.
Twice in the past year, I have met with people who told me that they had fractures following car accidents. These are sort of the ground ball of personal injury. But, sure enough, when the medical records roll in 45 days after the initial meeting, the records say possible fracture or avulsion fracture. Avulsion fractures are a bete noire of mine. They are technically a fracture and they hurt but they result from a tendon pulling a bone chip off the bone and are not as impressive as really cracked bones. Plus, they are always downgraded to sprained ankle etc. So, the client hears fracture. The lawyer hears fracture. The client gets signed up and then it’s a sprained ankle. Now what? Well, I don’t pursue sprained ankles as injuries, but I will do avulsion fractures, though unwillingly. So, we get more medicals and make a decision.