For the past decade, Denver attorney Evan Banker has carried an idea in his head for modernizing the legal industry, which he calls a “dinosaur” resistant to change.
On New Year’s Day, that idea — SettleUp — was launched.
“My understanding is that there is nothing else like this out there. First in the nation,” he said.
SettleUp is an online service that streamlines insurance claims after a car accident, Banker says. It’s run by Chalat Hatten & Banker, his local personal injury law firm.
SettleUp users fill out an online form and upload documents through the program, which sends them on to a Chalat Hatten & Banker lawyer. The lawyer then negotiates with the client’s insurer and communicates all offers and counteroffers to the client through text messages. Documents are signed through SettleUp and legal advice is texted to clients as needed.
When it comes time to settle the case, Chalat Hatten & Banker takes a 20-percent contingency fee, which is smaller than the industry average of 33 percent. Because the firm spends less time on SettleUp cases than it does on other injury cases, it can charge a lower fee, Banker says.
“I found myself turning away people who needed this sort of help because we didn’t have the resources to do that” before SettleUp, he explained in an interview. “By building this, we were able to create the resources to help more people.”
Chalat Hatten & Banker was started in 1987. It now has four lawyers and four staff members. Banker, who graduated law school at the University of Denver in 2007, believes other firms “tend to be very, very slow to adapt to change” and resistant to technological advancements.
In an effort to change the industry, he developed SettleUp. Development was spurred by the pandemic, which resulted in fewer people driving and therefore fewer people getting in car accidents, freeing up accident lawyers like him to work on other projects.
He handles all of the cases filed through SettleUp. The program — Banker is quick to stress it’s not an app since he believes people are tired of apps — is designed for simple cases in Colorado in which injuries aren’t serious, fault is obvious and lawsuits are unnecessary.
Banker said SettleUp is being advertised on billboards and in radio ads.