There are countless professions that perform every kind of service imaginable. While some of these professions may be better known than others, all are provided with certain social perceptions and labels. For example, school teachers are considered noble, firefighters are heroic, and scientists are intelligent. However, one occupation is viewed very differently from all others. This particular work has been referenced in many ways – none of which are flattering. You’ve heard them called greedy, nasty, and even bloodsucking. Yes, we are talking about personal injury lawyers.
Some people think waste management is worthless and garbage collectors are nasty. Still, most agree that they provide a valuable service and while it’s not a desirable job, it’s respectable. Personal injury lawyers, on the other hand, are almost universally appalled. Other types of lawyers also turn their noses up at personal injury lawyers. Oddly enough, everyone will tell you how they despise the accident lawyer profession, but few can tell you why; and even fewer can speak from personal experience. Where this wave of dissatisfaction originates is a mystery. So why does the world love to hate personal injury lawyers?
Generally, people think of personal injury lawyers as these hovering vultures waiting for an accident to happen, and when one does, they innocently swoop in to make a quick buck. This is at least a gross distortion of reality. It is criminal to suggest that accident lawyers hope that people will be harmed or fall prey to the misfortunes of others. Granted, injury lawyers make their living from people getting hurt, but so do many professions. For example, doctors are paid when patients are sick; police officer is paid if a crime is committed; but doctors and police officers are not supposed to profit from the misfortunes of others.
Think about it. It is a fact of life that people get hurt. No matter how safe a place is, injury is inevitable. In a just society, if someone is injured, the responsible party is liable for the damage done to the victim. All a personal injury attorney does is help the victim navigate the legal system so they can claim the compensation they are legally entitled to.
Most injury skeptics accept the above statement: Victims deserve justice, and lawyers are needed to help them achieve that justice. However, skepticism persists as they gawk at what they consider to be outrageous sums awarded in settlements and judgments. The critics are mistaken, because it is not a lawyer, judge, or even politician who is responsible for judging the dollar value of an injury – it is a jury made up of American citizens. Trial by jury is the cornerstone of our justice system and it is one of the few parts of the judiciary that work well. An attack on judgments, therefore, is not only an attack on the prized ideal of American justice, but is also a self-inflicted act on the attackers themselves – while the blame is borne by a scapegoat.
Yet much criticism remains, despite the recognition that victims deserve justice and that sentences are awarded fairly. The argument is that personal injury attorneys take too large a percentage of the victim’s award. In some cases, where millions of dollars are at stake, it seems like the attorney gets more than the lion’s share. This is really not the case. It is important to keep in mind that in the vast majority of personal injury cases, the defendant is a multinational insurance company with virtually unlimited resources and the best lawyers money can buy. It is not easy to fight this kind of competition in court. It can take years to fight big cases, and considering how many resources are involved, lawyers get a fair price when it’s all said and done.
In short, personal injury lawyers provide an invaluable service to society and it’s about time they were given some respect. Sadly, it seems they will always be the profession society loves to hate.