Why are there so many personal injury attorneys?

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Here is an article on personal injury lawyer advertising I posted on Verdict Stars that I am reprinting here:

Why are there so many personal injury lawyers?

The most obvious reason why personal injury legal marketing is so competitive is because that is where the money is.  But with more and more lawyers (even insurance defense lawyers) doing occasional personal injury work, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Let’s face it, there are a lot of lawyers.

There are about 1.33 million licensed attorneys in the United States. This number has been growing each year until it started to decline slightly in 2020.  This may be due in part to the pandemic or possibly to current economic and job market prospects.

There are also a lot of personal injury lawyers.

There are rough estimates on the internet claiming that there are around 130,000 to 140,000 personal injury lawyers practicing in the United States.  Based on my own experience as a personal injury attorney, I think that number is low.  Especially if you consider many self-employed lawyers practice personal injury law as a supplement to their primary practice.

If you simply search your hometown for “personal injury lawyers,” there are sure to be quite a few attorneys who pop up on Google maps, even if you practice in a small town.

IBISWorld estimated the total addressable market (“TAM”) of the personal injury law industry to be $42.3 billion in 2021.  This same report shows growth in the market of 1.9% in 2022.  If you divide $42 billion by 140,000 lawyers, you get about $300,000 per lawyer each year.

There are also a lot of civil cases filed each year.

In 2001, the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics compiled a report titled “Civil Trial Cases and Verdicts in Large Counties, 2001.”   Now while this report is more than 20 years old, it nevertheless contains some useful statistics.

This report analyzed the outcomes of state court civil trials in the country’s 75 largest counties.  They found nearly 12,000 bench and jury trials resolved in these counties.

The Bureau also estimated that there were between 300,000 to 500,000 personal injury cases filed annually.  They found that Plaintiffs won about 55% of the time and were awarded a total of $4 billion in damages.  These damages included both compensatory and punitive damages.  The median award was $33,000 for each plaintiff and the amounts ranged from a low of $10 to a high of $454 million.

Tort cases comprised about 67% of the total number of trials.  The amounts awarded by juries was also interesting.   The report found that about 18% of plaintiffs won over $250,000 in total damages.  They also found that about 7% of plaintiffs were awarded $1 million or more.

The median award for victorious plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases was $422,000.   About 33% of medical malpractice plaintiffs won $1 million or more at trial.

How much do lawyers spend on personal injury marketing?

report from the American Tort Reform Association (I know, I know – a trial lawyer’s archnemesis) found plaintiffs lawyers spend nearly $1 billion annually on local television ads alone.

They compared the amount furniture stores spend (about $590 million) on local TV advertising and what pizza restaurants spend (about $67 million) on local television ads to what attorneys spend.  Assuming their numbers are accurate, lawyers spend a lot on television ads comparatively speaking.

One large Louisiana law firm claims on his website that he spends $25 million (possibly more) on marketing annually.  Morgan and Morgan, who is said to be the largest plaintiff’s firm in the country, spends $100 million annually on marketing.  Their marketing spend is across various channels such as TV, radio, online ads, cabs and billboards.

These numbers are not hard to believe.  Simply turn on the television during the middle of the day and you are bound to see back-to-back personal injury law firm ads.  Travel to a city like Boston and turn on the nightly news, and you will almost certainly see a Morgan and Morgan TV ad at some point.

Where do you spend your personal injury marketing budget?

Chances are you’re like most plaintiff’s firms and do not have a multi-million-dollar annual marketing budget.  If you go by the conventional wisdom and spend 8% of your annual revenue on marketing, and let’s assume that works out to be $80,000 a year, how do you best spend that money?  Do you spend it all on television ads?  Do you do any radio ads?  Do you spend a portion on billboards and the rest on Google Adwords?  Or do you do a little of all those things?

I was asking this same question recently and an entrepreneur who had started a legal marketing company focused on Spanish-speaking clients enlightened me – many clients research their options before choosing the lawyer they ultimately hire.  In other words, the person in need of legal representation does not simply hire a lawyer based on the first Google or TV ad that pops up.  They do some research first.  It also turns out nearly half of all potential clients research their legal issue online before hiring a lawyer according to JurisDigital.

This should not be surprising.  After all, you most likely exhaustively research a product before you decide to purchase it – especially if it’s a major purchase.  But do regular people really research their car accident lawyer before they select one?  Turns out they do.  They may not simply hire the very first lawyer that appears on a Google Pay-Per-Click “truck accident lawyer” ad, for example.

We know this is true by our own intuition and experience.  Most people want to know that they are hiring the best lawyer to help them with their injury case.

A skilled personal injury lawyer makes all the difference.

As a successful personal injury lawyer, you know the amount of time and energy you’ve spent to gain the skill and know-how to get maximum results on your cases.  You’ve probably seen unskilled lawyers who only dabble in personal injury law settle cases for pennies on the dollar.  Those lawyers may have failed to see a critical injury such as a herniated disc caused by the accident because they didn’t go through the trouble to get an MRI done.

They may have not sent their client to the proper expert for a thorough evaluation.  You know that if a lawyer misses a traumatic brain injury diagnosis, for example, the client would be deprived of significant compensation.

It takes knowledge and skill to work up an injury case to a trial or settlement.  You must often retain a liability expert, vocational rehabilitation expert, economics expert and life care plan expert.  The time, money and skill you bring to bear on each case directly affects the outcome for the client.

What can I do to stand out?

This is where Verdict Post can help you brand your firm and broadcast your skill.  Verdict Post was specifically designed to showcase the results a skilled personal injury attorney can deliver to their injured client.

Using Verdict Post, a prospective client can freely search the platform and find examples of your settlements and trial verdicts.  They can see your skill at handling cases like theirs so that they can contact you directly about their own case.

The more you post, the more likely you are to be found by the new client.   As a legal publishing platform, your case results are designed to be found by search engines and by new clients.

Strengthen your brand and distinguish yourself as an expert in personal injury law.  Since the proof really is in the pudding, you should publish your successful client outcomes so that new clients and referring lawyers can find you and connect with you.  Think of it as social media for lawyers – a very specific, focused and targeted social media designed to bring you new clients!

Use Verdict Stars to post your settlements and verdicts so that you can show new clients and referring attorneys that you can help them get excellent results.

Verdict Stars is a marketing and publishing platform designed exclusively for personal injury lawyers.

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