Today, for the first time in ten years, State Farm’s Baltimore office conducted a “Settlement Day” hosting eight Maryland law firms at their offices to settle State Farm auto and truck accident cases. The day was a success for our office; we settled 70% of the cases up for discussion. Other personal injury attorneys that I spoke to who attended also reported substantial success. One Maryland accident lawyer told me 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 regularly. Even if we had settled none of our cases, it would have been worthwhile just to meet the adjusters. Everyone I met was very courteous and hospitable, even in those cases where we could not agree (the larger cases were the most difficult). The adjusters also tolerated my “evil empire” jokes well.
When I was doing pharmaceutical defense work, I would often fly across the country for an hour meeting with an expert. Other attorneys would also ask why a phone call would not suffice. But I always thought you can establish a much higher quality relationship and understanding with a person who you can see in person.
State Farm is thinking of making “Settlement Day” a regular occurrence, which I think is a splendid 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 problem 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.