There’s countless professions out there performing all types of services imaginable. While some of these occupations may be more well known than others, all are affixed with certain societal perceptions and labels. For example, school teachers are considered noble, firefighters are heroic, and scientists are intelligent. One professional occupation, however, is viewed much differently than all the others. This particular line of work is referred to in many ways — and none of which are flattering. You’ve heard them called greedy, sleazy, and even bloodsucking. Yes, we’re talking about personal injury lawyers.
Some people think waste management is crummy and garbage men are grimy. Still, most would agree they perform a valuable service and, while not a desirable job, it is respectable. On the other hand, personal injury lawyers are pretty much universally appalled. Even other types of attorneys turn their noses up at injury lawyers. Oddly enough, anyone will tell you how they disdain the accident law profession, but few can tell you why; and even fewer can speak from personal experience. Where this wave of malcontent finds its roots is anyone’s guess. So why does the world love to hate personal injury attorneys?
Generally, people perceive injury lawyers as these hovering vultures that wait for an accident to occur, and when one does, they guiltlessly swoop in to make a quick buck. At the very least, this is a gross distortion of reality. To suggest that accident attorneys hope for people to be harmed or prey on the misfortunes of others is criminal. Given, injury attorneys do earn their living due to people getting hurt, but so do a lot of occupations. For example, doctors get paid when patients are sick; policeman get paid when crime is committed; but doctors and policemen aren’t considered to profit off the misfortunes of others.
Think about it. It’s 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 damages caused to the victim. All a personal injury attorney does is help the victim navigate the justice system so they can lay claim to the compensation that they are legally entitled to.
Most skeptics of injury accept the above statement: victims deserve justice, and attorneys are necessary to help them achieve said justice. However, the skepticism remains as they gawk as what they perceive to be outrageous amounts of money awarded in settlements and verdicts. The critics are in error because it’s not an attorney, judge, or even politician that’s responsible for assessing the dollar value of an injury — it’s a jury made up of American citizens. Trial by jury is the cornerstone of our legal system, and it’s one of the few elements of the judiciary that works well. An attack on verdict awards is therefore not only an attack on the prized ideal of American justice, but is also a self-inflicted would on the attackers themselves — while the blame is shouldered by a scapegoat.
Still, many criticisms remain despite admission that victims deserve justice, and that verdict amounts are awarded fairly. The argument is that personal injury attorneys take too large of a percentage of the victim’s award. In some cases, where millions of dollars are at stake, it might seem like the lawyer gets more than the lion’s share. This really isn’t the case. It’s important to keep in mind that, in the vast majority of injury cases, the defendant is a multinational insurance company with virtually unlimited resources and the best lawyers that money can buy. Battling this type of competition in court is no easy feat. It can take years to fight major cases, and if you consider the resources involved, lawyers take a fair cut when it’s all said and done.
In sum, personal injury lawyers provide an invaluable service to society and it’s about time they get a smidgen of respect. Unfortunately, it seems they will always be the profession that society loves to hate.