Did you hear the one about the personal injury lawyer that was injured in an accident? He was hurt when the ambulance he was chasing stopped suddenly. This joke is funny, especially when you consider that there are attorneys out there who do in engage in the practice of trolling around hospitals looking for clients that have been injured and I’ll discuss these characters on a later date. However, there are many reputable attorneys who represent clients who have been injured in accidents involving cars, machinery, trips to the grocery store and mishaps at work. Personal injury law is vitally important for several reasons. First, it designs remedies for those who have been injured due to the negligence or intentional acts of another, and a second important function is that personal injury law helps to assign risks and spurs the development of safety measures in all facets of our lives. For example, personal injury lawsuits have led to safer designs of cars, trucks and machinery, exacting standards on the testing of prescription medication, and more stringent regulation of tobacco products.
Leading the charge to demonize personal injury lawyers and the clients they represent are the companies that make dangerous products, those who engage in negligent behavior and the insurance companies that insure their activities. These entities have been successful in portraying plaintiffs and personal injury lawyers as money hungry by drawing media attention to frivolous lawsuits and keeping attention from meritorious cases involving real injury and negligent conduct. This business model has been particularly advantageous for property and casualty insurance companies. One need not look any further than the massive insurance advertising campaigns funded by Progressive, GEICO, Allstate and others to see that these insurance companies are reaping billion- dollar profits every year. These massive profits are generated by insurance companies doing the two things they do best: collecting your premiums and not paying your claims. To be sure, the insurance companies have many employees that live and work among us as agents and adjusters and these people have no control over the claims process or other policies and industry-wide practices. But these practices and claim procedures often frustrate the process of normal people seeking redress for their injuries and damage at best and deny otherwise legitimate claims in many cases. These types of instances are responsible for a large majority of personal injury litigation in this State, and they involve insurance companies finally settling claims for reasonable amounts only after claimants have been forced to hire lawyers to pursue these claims.
Many people who have been injured or who have suffered economic or financial damage do not pursue legitimate claims because of the stigma associated with those who do. Still others do not pursue these claims because they are afraid of incurring costs in the form of legal fees, etc. These concerns are normally unjustified as many lawyers in the area share our office’s policy of a free consultation on this and many other types of matters. As always, when making a decision like this it is very important to contact a local attorney for advice.
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