The Amtrak train crash that occurred back in May of this year killed eight people and injured more than 200. At the time of the incident, there was high praise for the quick actions of first responders and the care that was provided for all who were involved. But several months later, victims seeking compensation for their medical expenses and other damages are finding themselves challenged by a little-known law that is preventing them from receiving their full due: a congressionally mandated cap on liability for Amtrak accidents.
Though Amtrak has made clear that they will not contest any of the lawsuits that have been filed against them, that may be little consolation for the dozens who are filing negligence lawsuits in order to recoup what they have spent on medical bills, as well as the impact that the accident had on their life. When Congress reauthorized Amtrak in 1997 they did so with a $200 million limitation on liability for any single train accident. No accommodation or indexing was provided for inflation.
According to John C.P. Goldberg, a law professor at Harvard University, “When Congress enacted the cap, it made the judgment that victims of large-scale railroad crashes will be among those who have to bear the cost of keeping Amtrak up and running. It is very difficult to see why, in effect, some of the subsidy should come from the victims of train crashes rather than the public.”
The liability limitation has created problem in the past that have, as yet, remained unresolved. When a California commuter train crashed in 2008, the judge hearing cases on behalf of two dozen dead and over 100 injured victims tried to distribute an additional $64 million in total beyond the limitation in order to provide appropriate compensation. Judge Peter D. Lichtman’s attempt was thwarted, prompting him to write, “Impossible decisions had to be made. What was given to one victim had to be taken from another.”
Congress is currently wrestling with the possibility of increasing the current cap and adding an automatic five-year inflationary adjustment. But this will provide little consolation to those injured in the Philadelphia accident.
So we started a new campaign on Thursday to a bunch of crickets. A new DIY home security product launched by another client of ours in one of the oddest business decisions I have ever witnessed by a legitimate company. Truly makes no sense as to why this was done. The only differentiator of this product is the 24/7 professional monitoring, which is included in all their plans. Most of the competitors are from well known companies. Just Google “diy home security” and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
We are trying a 30k/month PPC campaign on Adwords, SEO is a slow go and no one wants to link a company with no content. Social media isn’t going to sell a thing, sad to say because we have some good ideas. They refused to do e-commerce, they refused to do affiliate marketing, and we have yet to launch our email campaign which might be our only hope at this point.
Where was the brand awareness? No where to be found…
So you get a good link on a decent news related site and then you create other links like this one that points to the tier 1 link. So you have a good piece of content and a quote from the CEO that gets severely edited down to almost nothing but you at the will of these guest bloggers who promise the world to the highest bidder.
Next you go back and forth throughout the editing process until you realize that you have zero say on what goes on.
Let’s see if we keep monkeying around with this post to see what happens? First there is this personal injury law firm who is up against the wall when it comes to links and the DIY Home Security client who has less brand recognition than this small law firm in center city Philadelphia. It makes no sense to me as to why this product even exists but it does.
and another medical malpractice law firm who had 2 agencies butcher their SEO since 2010. Rebuilding a healthy link profile is both challenging and time consuming. I would love to hear how people go about this.
I don’t really get the sudden influx of attorney advertising on TV and radio anymore. Isn’t all about the web? How can I track besides asking if the TV spot is actually working? Brand awareness is really hard to gauge. Even if you do have brand awareness with the public on your side you can be dam sure that when it comes time to hire an attorney (out of necessity) you are still going to visit their website and see if they suit your needs.
There has always been the ambulance chasers and now there are these workers’ compensation attorneys who feel the need to advertise like there is no tomorrow. All it takes is one firm and the rest follow. There was the back of the bus lawsuit and now the other guy is producing TV commercials that run day and night. Add to that a PPC budget over $20k/month and you basically leave little to no room for the little guy. How does the solo practitioner survive?
Well first off they can hire a really good SEO who is well versed in local SEO because that is the small firms bread and butter. And it will be significantly easier if we are not talking a major metropolitan center but the suburbs where the bug guys are not. That is where to start with these workers’ compensation lawyers who are going up against the large firms in the big city.
Then these small firms and solo practitioners need to go out and shake hands and network like there is no tomorrow like the big guys are spending. You can generate your own brand awareness on your time, on your scale.
more on attorney digital marketing to come…
Well that happened today. 5 agency types (probably only 2 were necessary) and one highly successful personal injury attorney in Philadelphia who only will take your case if you are permanently damaged and there is a 7 figure settlement in your future.
The biggest issue as always is money. But especially in this case where the attorney’s firm had been badly by someone who had no idea what they were doing. The last time this firm had an Adwords account was 2011. With a spend of only $22k over a 11 month period over $17k of it was wasted completely. In the meantime PPC has become insanely competitive with personal injury lawyers. This particular client is well known for their medical malpractice lawsuits. For better or worse I suppose. Don’t ask a doctor.
So now after spending $180k on traditional media, video, and new website we go in there asking for another $10-12k per month on Adwords. The problem is there are 2 firms in Philly spending nearly 10 TIMES that amount gobbling up all the clicks (and cases) within the medical malpractice practice area.
So what do we do? Go after super low volume keywords such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord, and birth injuries? Or can we go in another direction and partially meet some of the demand for medical malpractice queries.
Cole Hamels was very average in his first start with the Rangers but that isn’t surprising to me, I was never a defender and if the outfielder and catcher we got from the Rangers work out it will be a great trade for the Phillies.
In business news we have a big pitch meeting for a large Adwords contract to a Philadelphia personal injury law firm. I’d love to read other pitch stories. Both horror stories and successful ones would be a great learning experience.
Still waiting for her to show up. Will it ever happen?
The other business is going very well. Will this family law client come thru and actually have a business plan in place? Somehow I get stuck with clients who like to fly by the seat of their pants. That usually doesn’t work out in business. Just a thought.
What do you do for local businesses trying to compete with national companies? Where do you tend to spend your money? Starbucks or the local coffee shop?
Another local business in this space I am big fan of is SEO by the Phoenix. Someone I can highly recommend and trust that they know what they are talking about.
Welcome to 999 Today where everything from Philadelphia, business, marketing, & sports will be discussed with a slightly exaggerated tone to make our points. I hope you comment on what you read and we will be sure to comment back. Thanks!