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Signs you have wandered into a "settlement mill"

A "settlement mill" is a unflattering term describing a certain kind of personal injury law firm. These are firms you want to steer clear of.

We present this information as a public service, because these firms give our profession a bad name.

A good law firm focuses on quality - good service, personalized treatment, clear communications, and positive outcomes.

A settlement mill is more about quantity. Their model is to have a lot of cases, settle them all quickly, and at the end of the day they'll make a lot of money. Their clients? Not so much.

Good law firms don't bait and switch - selling their services with an impressive-looking lawyer, then turning you over to a paralegal. You never see Mr. Impressive again.

Settlement mills are hard to miss. They acquire clients through heavy advertising - on TV, billboards, or the sides of buses. They need lots of clients, and this is how they acquire them -- by being loud, and hard to ignore.

Settlement mill lawyers - or paralegals -- may never have seen the inside of a courtroom. They may never have filed a lawsuit. Their approach is completely different - throw a hundred cases in the air, settle on the cheap, cheap, and spend the revenue on more advertising.

It's wrong even to think of these mills as being lawyers. What they are is entrepreneurs. They have devised a high volume approach to business. Your life may be turned upside down because of your injury. That's not their concern. To them you are simply a case number.

They tend to be faster than regular lawyers, settling cases in as little as eight months. That's attractive if you just need a handful of money. But it's no substitute for getting all the money your injury calls for. But that requires actual legal knowledge.

Our advice to people who have been injured: Get a feeling for the kind of operation you're dealing with. If you feel like you're being hustled, you probably are.

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