Among the areas at their firms most ripe for improvement, we’d bet most mass tort lawyers would have “claimant engagement” near the top of the list.
As established mass tort law firms know, and as new mass tort firms quickly find out, engaging with claimants can be a huge challenge.
Firms lose contact with claimants, which can come back to haunt them.
Because claimants move, claimants die, claimants change email addresses or phone numbers, or they provide the wrong information during intake, it is frighteningly easy for law firms to lose contact with claimants.
This is problematic for a number of reasons. If claimants don’t hear from your law firm, they may assume they are not represented by counsel and will look for another law firm to represent them in their mass tort case. As a result, your firm might lose out on its fees after spending money, time and other resources to acquire claimants and perform legal work on their behalf.
Even if a claimant does not seek alternative representation, if your firm cannot find them to provide them with their recovery, your firm cannot take its corresponding fee.
Looking down the road past the current case on which you have been retained, your firm cannot continue to market to (and perhaps receive future referrals from) mass tort claimants you can’t reach. Losing contact with a claimant today could mean missing out on a long-term relationship in which your firm, directly or through outbound referrals, becomes the go-to law firm for all of that claimant’s legal needs.
Take a relationship-based approach instead of a transaction-based approach to claimant engagement.
In our experience, firms that connect with their claimants through relationship-building and not through a series of transactions are the ones that most successfully engage their claimants and avoid losing contact with significant numbers of them.
Firms should invest in regularly communicating with claimants with updates on their cases, even if the developments are administrative in nature. Additionally, firms should periodically check in with their claimants to see if they have updates regarding their injuries or medical treatment. At the end of each communication, firms should prompt claimants to update their contact information if it has changed.
A necessary first step to these periodic communications is for firms to understand the demographics of their claimants so they can establish both an appropriate outreach cadence and methodology that fit the audience and promote a high engagement rate.
Claimants in a mass tort concerning a pharmaceutical product might be older than those in a mass tort like the 3M ear plugs litigation that affects younger first responders or veterans. The former might want more frequent, high-touch updates while the latter might prefer occasional, electronic updates.
When firms regularly communicate with mass tort claimants, they’ll know early on whether there are problems connecting with certain ones, which can help them avoid a post-settlement scramble to confirm the contact information for thousands of claimants.
At the same time, through regular communication firms can build goodwill with claimants and perhaps even generate new matters from them while current cases are still in progress.
In mass torts, an ounce of proactive communication with claimants is worth a pound of uncollected recoveries, unearned fees, unhappy claimants, and missed referrals.
Interested in learning more about how your firm can better engage with its mass tort clients? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 888.681.1129 to arrange an initial consultation.