Insurance Poll: Why Auto Claimants Call Attorneys

by David Rumsey | January 31, 2018

Whiz boy with question mark in his head

A few weeks ago, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) released the results of a poll conducted to determine why car accident victims hire lawyers. The report, Motivation for Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims, is based on 27,126 online interviews and follow-up questions asked of 505 respondents identified as auto injury claimants who hired attorneys.

For personal injury law firms who handle auto accident cases, the results are encouraging, interesting, and reaffirming.


  • Approximately half of respondents with auto injury claims hired attorneys to help settle those claims. That statistic is consistent with data released by the IRC in 2014.
  • 46% of respondents who hired attorneys said they did so because it was suggested to them, either by “someone they know” (33%) or by their doctor (16%).


  • Money matters. The second most common answer (22%) was that auto claimants “wanted to get the highest settlement possible.”
  • “Saw attorney advertising” came in at No. 5 with 13%. That may seem discouraging, but keep a few things in mind: The question was why they decided to talk to an attorney–not why they decided to talk to any specific attorney. Around 49% of respondents made their decision based on the suggestions of “other people,” but the study doesn’t quantify what effect advertising had on those people of influence. Some people may have a bias against admitting they were swayed by advertising.

Reaffirming (what we already know)

  • Auto accident victims in the report called fast within a week of the accident.
  • Only 15% said that they called attorneys because of delays in getting the claim settled, and only 10% said it was because they were unhappy with the settlement amount offered. For years, our writers have avoided talking about past experiences with the insurance company and have focused instead on the likely pitfalls of not having a lawyer. People don’t usually call because they’re dissatisfied with the claims process; they call because they FEAR the claims process.

For the complete picture, here’s the chart from the press release of the survey by the IRC:

IRC Chart No Border

Now for an interesting exercise. Compare the IRC’s chart to this survey below that we conducted in 2009. Before comparing these results, remember that the pie chart below was based on a “hidden survey” during 500 actual intake calls to 10 law firms across the country. The survey question asked here was: “As an accident victim, what are you most concerned about right now?”

LIP Survey Chart

Seems like putting these two charts together would make for some good lawyer advertising. If only somebody would do that.

At cj Advertising, we consider data like this to be invaluable. To help us craft the most effective advertising messages for our clients, we’ll continue keep our thumb on the pulse of the auto insurance agency by reviewing reports like these.

Thanks for reading.