How Do People Injured in Accidents Find Lawyers?
People injured in accidents come to us from one of the following four sources:
With the exception of referrals, potential injury clients have no loyalty. They often contact several accident lawyers and will retain the first lawyer who responds. Even accident clients who have been referred to an injury lawyer should be retained immediately.
What Is the Cost of Not Retaining Personal Injury Clients Fast Enough?
With an average settlement value of $60,000, if you miss just one accident case, it can cost you a legal fee of $20,000 or more, depending upon your state.
It has been estimated that personal injury attorneys miss 27% of calls. I have seen some law firms miss even more accident clients than that when they are not signed up fast enough.
If your law firm intake is 100 new cases annually, you probably don’t even realize that you may have been able to sign up as many as 140 new cases instead of 100. That could cost you $800,000 annually.
But if you miss retaining just one accident case with an injury worth $1 million, you just lost $333,333 or more!
How Much Does It Cost to Retain a Personal Injury Claim?
We used to spend an average of 3-4 hours signing up accident clients, including travel time and time meeting with the client. Figuring 10 hours of work to settle a case for an average of $60,000 means your time is worth $6,000 per hour, and it will cost you $18,000-$24,000 just to sign one accident case.
If you send a paralegal or investigator to sign up potential new accident clients instead of sending a lawyer, your cost will be less but still expensive and diverts valuable employee time away from working on cases.
Identifying the Problem
Some law firms insist on sending a lawyer to meet with potential new injury clients, while some law firms will send either an attorney or paralegal, depending on who is available.
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We have a partnership with a law firm that employs 60 people, including 17 attorneys. They try to set up an appointment with potential injury clients and often meet with them as far as a week later. When potential new clients can’t or don’t want to come to the office, they send an attorney to meet with the potential injury client. Occasionally, their attorneys travel as much as 2-3 hours each way.
The problem is that the law firm loses some clients who sign up with other lawyers during the days or a week before meeting with them, and it costs a fortune on employee time and lost productivity to meet with potential new accident clients who won’t come to the office.
We get calls from potential personal injury clients all day, night, and on weekends. When someone is injured in an accident, we retain the client immediately, not tomorrow, not even hours later. And we don’t spend a lot of time doing it.
We retain personal injury clients by email within minutes to hours, but we only spend 10 minutes after hanging up the phone!
The two problems this article will solve are:
- How to retain personal injury clients by email minutes after speaking with the caller before another lawyer gets the case
- How to save the time and cost of meeting with potential accident clients
How to Retain Accident Clients Immediately and without Spending Any Time
Use an e-sign service. We use Adobe Sign, formally EchoSign, but we are switching to AssureSign. Why are we switching? AssureSign can send a retainer by SMS text message.
Some people don’t have an email address or know how to access it even though they have a smartphone. We just had a call from a woman who couldn’t figure out how to sign the retainer by email and asked us if we could send her a text message.
VineSign can also send retainers by SMS text message but can also get a photo selfie identifying the client. We will use AssureSign because it integrates with our personal injury case management software SmartAdvocate and VineSign will not allow integration. AssureSign is pricey, but not when you get it through a reseller like SmartAdvocate. VineSign is very reasonably priced.
Adobe includes our logo in the emails sent to injured callers. This image shows the email Adobe Sign sends to the caller. You can see our logo in the upper left-hand corner of the email, and you can see, circled in red, that this email was sent on a Saturday at 11:15 AM.
This image shows the email returned to us by Adobe Sign with the accident retainer agreement signed. Circled in red, you can see that the retainer agreement was signed on Saturday at 11:22 AM, seven minutes after it was sent.
Here’s a screenshot showing another personal injury client retained by email. The caller clicked on a Google Ad, called 1-800-HURT-911, and spoke with our call center. My partner called the potential client and determined it was a case we want. The caller’s information was entered in our personal injury management software, SmartAdvocate, at 11:30 AM, a retainer was emailed out at 11:36 AM, the retainer was emailed back, and the client was retained at 11:55 AM!
How Do You Ask a Potential Accident Client to Retain Your Legal Services by Email?
At some point during the call, the caller usually will ask what the next step is. If they don’t ask, we simply say that we would like to represent them. We say to the caller, “You can come to us, we can come to you, or if you prefer, we can email you a retainer which you can sign on your phone or computer, and we can be working on your case in 15 minutes.” 98% of the time, callers go for the email option.
We get so many more cases than we can handle, so we formed a partnership with a large law firm with 50 employees. They still sign up injured accident clients the old way! They insist on meeting every new potential client.
If you want to meet every new client, sign them up by email or text message and meet them later. We found that new clients don’t feel like they have to meet us if they can easily reach us on the phone. That’s why we always take calls from clients and never put them off.
How to Stop Losing Advertising Calls & Retain More Clients
Now that you know how to retain new accident and injury clients within minutes find out why you are losing clients you never knew you could’ve had but lost because you didn’t even know they called.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq., is the author of this article.
Phil Franckel is the owner of 1-800-HURT-911® and over 1,100 domain names. He is a personal injury lawyer and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the NYS Trial Lawyers Association. He is an expert on branding, advertising, marketing, and SEO. He has been doing SEO since 1994. Phil Franckel has written and produced TV commercials for lawyers and other industries and has been a consultant to owners of vanity phone numbers. Phil has a blog about lawyer advertising at LawyerAdvertisingBlog.com. Phil Franckel began his first business in 8th grade, owned businesses in various different industries, and worked freelance for ABC Wide World of Sports and Monday Night Baseball. In his spare time, Phil Franckel is the Commanding Officer of the Communications Bureau of the NCPD Aux. Police Section.
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