When a client approaches a law firm with a personal injury case, it can be difficult to calculate the case’s value. Judgments can vary in both duration and award, even within the same jurisdiction. With years of experience, an attorney can become proficient at predicting the outcome of any case, but often that comes after numerous bad guesses that cost their firms money.
Data analytics have become popular with businesses of all types in recent years. Corporations use the technology to monitor customer behaviors and make more informed decisions. Software development firms use it to identify issues with their products and refine them. For law firms, analytics can be used to learn more about certain types of cases so that they can better predict outcomes from the start. Here are a few ways firms use analytics for their personal injury cases.
Clients almost always want to know exactly how much they can expect to receive from a claim. Unless attorneys have extensive experience with trying personal injury case, this is almost always a guessing game. Through the use of predictive analytics, however, firms can determine exactly how much a particular type of claim typically pays out, factoring in issues such as the number of previous cases filed and the judge who will be hearing the case. This will allow them to give a fact-based number to potential clients to help them decide whether pursuing legal action is worth their time and money.
This data can also prove useful in court, especially if an attorney can provide research that backs the numbers up. If the risk of recurrence for a certain type of malpractice suit is high, for instance, a judge may be more generous in awarding a plaintiff the damages requested. Analytics can also help attorneys learn more about a specific judge or venue, tailoring arguments to match past decisions by a specific judge.
Law firms make choices, sometimes on a daily basis, as to exactly which cases they’ll take. Even within the framework of personal injury law, attorneys will take calls from potential clients who are searching for representation. When attorneys have data on the types of cases that generally win, they can focus on those, leaving the cases that are tough sells to competitors.
Even after a firm has decided to take on a case, analytics can help in a big way. Firms now use data analytics solutions to comb through volumes of data on past cases and identify the exact information that matches a particular case. This information can help attorneys build a case, since they can easily see past judgments and form their arguments accordingly. With the right tools on hand, attorneys can scan through this information before making a decision about taking on a case, increasing the chances they’ll win when they stand in front of the judge.
Finding The Human Connection
Juries are made up of citizens, each having their own outside interests. Through the use of analytics, attorneys can learn more about residents in a particular community to better form arguments that will make that human connection. A legal team may find that a large number of people in a particular area have been laid off from their jobs in recent months, for instance, making the argument for lost wages more heart wrenching. An emotional appeal about a large corporation’s negligence toward a particular plaintiff may also sway the jury in such an area.
Judges often instruct jurors to disregard all emotion and make a decision solely based on the facts. While jurors will always use at least a small amount of personal judgment when voting, an attorney can use analytics to point out facts that will help them. They can give specific amounts, for instance, when demonstrating lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering after a personal injury. Numbers are easier to base a decision on than hunches and feelings, making data analytics tools more popular than ever.
For law firms, analytics open up new possibilities. Not only can they make more informed decisions about the cases they take, they can be more fully prepared when they walk into the courtroom. The earlier attorneys learn to use these tools, the more of a competitive advantage they’ll have in trying cases.
Dan Steiner is a veteran internet & social media marketing consultant who has worked with hundreds of brands throughout the years. He is also an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout California, and has been featured in a number of media outlets across the web. He is currently CEO & Founder at Avila Web Firm, an award winning web design and internet marketing firm based out of San Luis Obispo, California.