Why do personal injury attorneys have such a bad reputation? Well, there are a combination of things in play. Everyone thinks lawyers are the worst – sleazy spinners and ambulance chasers – until they need one. And when someone needs an attorney, that attorney becomes your champion. He or she is the one representing your interest while the insurance companies are doing their best to mitigate your damages and decrease their client’s liability on their clients.
A couple of factors come into play. First, you have to remember the publicity that comes out. These cases are decided by jurors who hear all facts and come up with decisions; but the publicity comes on big high profile cases with big verdicts, which are rare. A big example that I hear frequently is the McDonald’s decision with the woman who was burned by the hot coffee. People remember that as a multi-million-dollar verdict. The truth is that that woman was the 300th person who made a claim against McDonald’s for having their coffee so hot. That verdict, which everyone remembers as multi-million dollars was actually less a million dollars after the process.
In terms of personal injury attorneys’ reputations, we must remember that these manufacturers of products and businesses aren’t necessarily making decisions with your interest in mind. For example, asbestos has been taken out of our walls not because builders and manufacturers were worried about lung cancer; it was their fear of litigation. Silicone implants that were migrating into women’s bodies: they weren’t stopped because the manufacturers were worried that their profits would go down; they were worried about litigation. It’s litigation that often makes the difference and makes the products manufactured here in the United States the safest in the world.
So, don’t disparage all personal injury attorneys. If you need to choose a personal injury attorney, make sure you choose someone with experience and integrity to represent your interests. If you live in South Texas or in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, I hope you will contact me for a free consultation. Email me at Scott@scottsaneslaw.com or call me at (413) 429-6400.