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Claims Make Everyone’s Insurance Cost Increase

Posted on January 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

Advertisements will leap out at you whether you are driving past a billboard, looking in the phone book or newspaper, or even when you are watching your television. We’ll help you, no matter your accident, be it car crash, whiplash or other injury! Look in the phone book, and you’ll see many pages splashed with the firm’s red headlines, photos of injured victims heading to the ambulance, and free help until the claim is won. Certain promotions actually boast the ability to provide financial advances against potential damage awards or settlements.

An insurance group has gone on record with its belief that hard-nosed advertisements placed by plaintiff’s attorneys have caused massive escalations in the cost of damage claims. This is result in some motorists not even getting coverage due to the increases. A region service manager for the bureau sees little vehicle damage, but victims that claim overgrown awards. Some are even winning these claims. While the insurance industry as a whole believes in paying for injuries received in an accident, this bureau agent says that the expectations of consumers have gone to extremes.

Each company has seen its premiums increase due to the rise in claim costs in a varying manner. If you are a good driving risk, you will see an increase from fifteen to thirty-five percent. If you have been involved in an accident or have received a ticket in the last few years, the increase you will see is going to be even greater than that.

Attorneys deny the allegation that their advertisements have caused a rise in insurance claim expenses. A particular attorney stated that he cannot fathom the link made by the insurance industry group between claim totals and law firm promotional materials. A person who has a valid claim against a third party driver should definitely be entitled to a claim against them. However, bar authorities are pondering whether it is ethically appropriate for attorneys to offer financial advances to plaintiffs they are representing.

One lawyer agrees that there is a proliferation of advertising by personal injury lawyers and that this may actually increase the number of claims filed. However, he doesn’t see the issue inherent in that strategy. It is too bad that the the insurance bureau just assumes it is negative for lawyers to let people know their rights, and that people then act on those rights. He notes that insurance costs are increasing and that the system could be improved. He also says the insurance industry isn’t willing to work with his association to make the needed changes.

Looking into accident prevention, as a means of reducing claim costs, is the suggestion of the President of the Bar Association. The industry lobbying government to raise fines for photo radar or bans on cell phone use while driving, is not being heard of by him. Why steps are not being taken to prevent accidents entirely, on the road and otherwise, is being thought about by him as well. He also mentioned the fact that as a whole, the insurance industry has suffered huge losses in investments, and that this has lead to smaller profit margins.

Insurance is lobbying hard for legislation that would stop motorists from ‘double dipping’. Certain claimants seek awards for lost wages in situations where they have already received compensation under their existing employee benefit coverage. What makes things worse is the fact that some awards are given for gross wages lost. The employee has no reason to go back to work. You’ll make more money if you are out of work for a longer time.

Few lawyers have a good inkling of the number of injury accident lawyers are practicing today, but they don’t think additional places for these lawsuits exist. The majority, actually, permit damage claims that are based on pain and suffering, but in certain jurisdictions, injuries need to be substantial and long-lasting. While the insurance industry blames personal industry advertising for the increase in claims, it may be the opposite that is true. There is no reason the lawyer can’t pay for the costs of the suit until the claimant is awarded a settlement. There is also nothing wrong with the lawyer offering to pay for everything if the suit is lost.

A Powerful Partnership: Legal Marketing and Graphic Design

Posted on January 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

There is no room for a disconnect between the image your firm is projecting and the position you seek to carve out of the marketplace. More than ever, shifts in the legal industry are shining a bright light on business development. As the face of the firm evolves, its storytellers, i.e. the logo, firm brochure, practice area literature, recruitment material, trade publication ads, event invitations, newsletters, and the web site need to reflect the change. Collectively and individually, these ambassadors make a great case in favor of judging a book by its cover. How they look is just as important as their content.

Shaping that look, as well as shaping perception, is a function of graphic design. Strategic graphic design begins at the point where business goals and creativity intersect. A design, no matter how eye-catching, will fall short of success if that point of intersection has been missed. Sharp graphics alone lack the substance to define identity, but offer plenty of style.

Style is driven by trend. Style, rather than the firm, becomes the focus of this design approach. The design may be unusual. It may use appealing typestyles, sport a catchy headline, feature compelling illustrations, and photos of each principal attorney. Brochure design may even include a splash of purple. But will this design translate firm-wide from an invitation to a practice area brochure? It may have distinguished your firm from others, but, quite likely, has left an impression that is unrelated to firm character and unique strengths. As a corporate storyteller, a piece driven by style is a one-time expenditure that is unable to add equity to identity or market position.
Dramatic color can be used effectively as part of a deliberate effort to project a vibrant image or to push an existing connection with the firm. Then that splash of purple has been transformed from a gratuitous whim into a unique and memorable characteristic, a cornerstone of any branding and positioning effort. A prominent firm with offices in Chicago and throughout the U.S. uses bright yellow as part of its design identity, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by its name.

What if ‘vibrant’ is not part of your firm’s corporate story? Then an inappropriate characteristic is leading your image-making efforts. From among the following creative variables, which will create a tone that captures the essence of your firm:

a fast-paced and succinct writing style or one that is warm and conversational;
conceptual imagery or traditional portraits;
illustration or photography;
bright colors or ones that are subdued and monochromatic?

From this perspective, seemingly capricious design decisions become purposeful and connect to business goals. This strategic integration of information and presentation is what will influence people.

Another vital creative element that works to build image is the design system. Its function is to ensure that all publications look as though they have originated from the same source. Developing guidelines for layout, typography, color and use of imagery will create visual consistency across disciplines from the web to an event invitation. With repetition, this underlying design architecture will work behind the scenes to trigger the desired response: name recognition. Image will develop as the firm is represented in this consistent manner, and like branding, will develop equity over time. Great design brings great ad concepts to life.

But, look beyond the visual impact of memorable law firm ad campaigns to find that level of intelligent design and creativity carried firmwide from business cards to practice area literature. Not just a catchy tag line or dramatic photo, the messages about the firm that are conveyed through a deliberately designed system infer quality and creativity without having to state the obvious: the competence of the firm.

Multiple visual styles coming from the same firm dilute positioning and recognition efforts. An inventory of current presentation/marketing materials often reveals a variety of approaches. A collection of practice area brochures for example, may provide evidence of a lack of design consistency to the point where each appears to represent a different firm. Reviewing a collection of event invitations may indicate no visual relationship with corresponding practice area literature. Without the budget or mandate to develop a totally new identity system, crafting a deliberate image may seem out of reach. However, the inventory may also reveal which elements can be retained and strengthened and which can be retired. For example, the decision could be made to retain a logo because, having become readily recognizable, it has accrued equity. That equity could be built upon by creating a consistent presentation of the logo. If some of your publications read Jones, Smith and Glass while others read JS&G, consider which direction is strongest and adopt the position firm-wide.

Elements of a design system can be put in place over time as budgets allow. Developing a common grid system upon which all publications can be designed will ensure that they look compatible and have originated from the same firm. Color palettes could be updated, and depending upon the story of your firm, subdued or brightened. Photography could be used in a consistent manner; perhaps your images are candid portraits reflecting the truth that the attorneys at your firm are approachable, real people.

A family of typefaces could be selected. Just because there are 150 fonts in your system does not mean you have to use them all. Templates could be created for repetitive publications, or ones that are produced in-house. Many firms are opting to move away from the traditional and costly firm brochure. More cost effective to produce is a smaller book that tells the firm’s story with broad strokes, leaving individual practice area brochures to convey information in greater detail, with easily updatable inserts for specific attorney bios and contact information. Taking small steps toward the long-term goal of firm-wide consistency will make a difference over time.


Computer Industry Faces More Lawsuits

Posted on January 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

There is a Texas personal injury lawyer who came up with a moneymaking plan involving the laptop computer industry. Have a lawsuit filed against the company for a problem that never happened. If you are one of those involved in selling laptop computers, then you shouldn’t be laughing about this. Price increases may result from the fact that copycat lawsuits have also been filed against other companies as well.

The story of a $9 lawsuit filed against a Japanese appliance maker on behalf on 5 million consumers ended in a settlement of $2 billion. Since the risk of losing more money was great if they tried to battle the lawsuit, the company decided on a settlement.

It was through this settlement that a group of lawyers managed to earn around $147 million in contingency fees. The company distributed discount coupons and gave cash rebates to the million owners of their notebook computers. The plaintiffs responsible for the lawsuit filed last March were owners of laptop computers.

The men, who received $25,000 each from the settlement, claimed a design flaw might, under extreme conditions, cause corruption or loss of data, when the laptops transferred data to a floppy disc. These two men did not suffer and losses or damages despite the flaw they found in their laptops.

The manufacturer of the chip claims that no complaint had ever been filed before about this feature in the laptop pointed out as a defect. It was only when the lawsuit was filed last March that complaints from customers began coming in. The laboratory tests run by the company did not reveal any data loss that may have come about from the flaw.

If the Japanese computer maker had lost a jury trial, it could have cost the company more than $9 billion enough to jeopardize its future. Many legal observers claim that the case was easily defensible and that the company’s surrender was dropping meat with blood into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The sharks lunged in even before the sound of the splash disappeared. Lawsuits were immediately filed against another five laptop manufacturing companies who were users of the NEC floppy control chip.

Layoffs are becoming a possibility now that these businesses are being hit by copycat lawsuits. The problems have definitely gone bigger. These billion dollar settlements may cause personal computer prices to go up, a New York financial analyst stated. Economists claim that falling computer prices have led to low inflation rates for the past twenty years.

For a few hundred dollars, today’s lowest priced computers offer thousands of times more speed and capability than models costing $5,000 or more did a mere 20 years ago. Computer prices are sure to soar if laptop manufacturers are bullied just like the Japanese company. This is not regarded as good news for those who cannot afford it.