How much do you know about the common behaviors and decisions of accident victims?

More importantly, what can law firms do to influence those behaviors to make people more likely to contact a lawyer for legal help?

At PMP, we take a holistic approach to driving more cases for our clients, focusing on what we can do to influence accident victims’ decision-making.

Recently, our CEO, Kyle Hebenstreit, spoke at the PILMMA Super Summit in New Orleans about our market research on the behaviors of accident victims. Our survey provided invaluable insights into the actions of potential clients and how we can reach them on each stage of their journey.


You can review some of the main takeaways below. If you are looking for ways to drive more cases, contact PMP to discuss a customized marketing solution for your law firm. Our experienced marketing professionals have been getting results for plaintiff law firms across North America for more than 15 years.

Conventional Approach vs. Focusing on Behavior

Traditionally, the goal of marketing is to find ways to differentiate your product or service from your competitors. You divide your audience into segments and tell those different segments of your audience what makes you different.

While this is a tried-and-true strategy, our hypothesis is that this method breaks down in a high competition, low differentiation marketplace, like personal injury law. At PMP, we have found that it is better to focus on behavior:

  • How can we map the behaviors of accident victims?
  • How can we identify the most common behaviors after an accident?
  • What can we do to influence those behaviors, increasing the likelihood accident victims will contact one of the law firms we represent?

PMP Case Study on Accident Victim Behavior

PMP solicited a survey of over 1,000 respondents across the country. We did a representative sampling of geographies across states, household incomes, genders and ethnicities.

We asked various questions about what people would do at various stages of their post-car accident journey before they hire an attorney. We call this journey the buying process waterfall.

The Buying Process Waterfall

The buying process waterfall breaks down the consumer journey into digestible stages. You should consider these stages when formulating marketing and advertising strategies. Taking this approach helps ensure you will be the firm that an injured person calls!

The First Three Calls Accident Victims Make

Typically, the first three calls accident victims make are to:

  • The police
  • The insurance company
  • Friend, family member or colleague

Decades of targeted messaging has conditioned accident victims to start the conversation with the police and their insurance company, not a lawyer. This is good for insurance companies and bad for personal injury lawyers.

Within Two Weeks of an Accident…

We also asked survey respondents if they would contact a lawyer a couple of weeks after the accident. According to the survey, 45 percent said they would contact a lawyer, suggesting that 55 percent would not call a lawyer.

This data suggests that your biggest competitor is not other law firms in your area, but inaction by potential clients.

Who Is Unlikely To Call a Lawyer?

Here are some of the things you need to know about those who are unlikely to call a lawyer. These individuals are:

  • Disproportionately female
  • Are slightly older than those who would normally call a lawyer
  • Largely white

Why Do People Not Call a Lawyer?

Researching the behavior blockers that prevent people from reaching out to an attorney we determined that:

  • 60 percent said they do not think they need an attorney
  • 22 percent said they would not think to call a lawyer
  • 20 percent said they cannot afford to hire a lawyer
  • 12 percent said they feel bad suing someone who was nice or apologetic

Diverse Content for Diverse Platforms

To influence different parts of the customer journey, firms must create tailored content for various audiences across different platforms. This approach does not necessarily require a large budget. However, it does require a clear approach and strategic thinking.

An example of this might be targeting women with a Facebook ad campaign of static images and possibly some moving graphics. These ads can be branded or unbranded. The message could include a checklist of steps to take after an accident, such as:

  • Step One: Call the police
  • Step Two: Call a lawyer
  • Step Three: Contact friends and family members so they know you are OK

Building a Local Network

Engaging with the community and informing key influencers about the benefits of hiring an attorney can significantly impact awareness and client acquisition. Therefore, it is important to engage with local doctors, chiropractors and therapists. These are the people who often encourage and inform injured people to contact a personal injury lawyer.

Holistic and Strategic Thinking

Rather than fixating on metrics like cost-per-click rates or keyword rankings, firms should adopt a holistic marketing strategy. Tactical optimizations should align with a broader, well-thought-out strategy to stay competitive in the ever-evolving legal market.

Firms that adopt these practices will be better positioned to navigate the increasingly competitive landscape and achieve sustainable growth.

Looking To Build Your Brand and Increase Your Case Count?

PMP offers website and advertising services that can help your firm increase case count. We will build and manage your website, social media profiles and Google Business profile.

PMP Website and Advertising Services graph

We improve your searchability and ensure that when clients research you, they decide to hire you. We will build your firm’s brand and manage your advertising investment across platforms to amplify your reach and influence the user journey to increase the volume of cases you receive.