Today, for the first time in ten years, the Baltimore office of State Farm conducted a “Settlement Day” hosting eight Maryland law firms at their offices in an effort to settle State Farm auto and truck accident cases. The day was very successful for our office; we settled 70% of the cases that were up for discussion. Other personal injury attorneys that I spoke to who attended also reported great success. One Maryland accident lawyer told me that he settled all but one of his law firm’s car accident cases.
The day was also a success because it is productive for attorneys to meet the adjusters they deal with on a regular basis. Even if we had not settled any of our cases, it would have been worthwhile just to meet the adjusters. Everyone I met was very courteous and hospitable even on those cases where we were not able to reach an agreement (the larger cases were the most difficult). The adjusters also tolerated my “evil empire” jokes quite well.
When I was doing pharmaceutial defense work, I would often fly across the country for an hour meeting with an expert. Other attorneys would also ask why phone call would not suffice. But I always thought that you are able to establish a much higher quality relationship and understanding with a person who you are able to see in person.
State Farm is thinking of making “Settlement Day” a regular occurrence which I think is a great idea.
P.S. – Two years later, State Farm had another Settlement Day. This one was far less successful, at least for our firm. We settled a few cases but not many. One of the problems was that I drew the wrong adjuster for our serious injury cases (although I dealt with a delightful woman from Team 22 or our smaller cases).
P.S.S – 2013 update – They either stopped having them or they stopped inviting us.