There are countless professions that perform every type of service imaginable. While some of these occupations may be better known than others, everybody they are placed with certain perceptions and social labels. For example, school teachers consider themselves noble, firefighters are heroic, and scientists are smart. However, one professional occupation is viewed very differently from all the others. This particular line of work is referenced in many ways, and none of which are flattering. You’ve heard them called greedy, sleazy, and even bloodsucking. Yes, we are talking about personal injury attorneys.
Some people think that waste management is bad and garbage cans are dirty. Still, most would agree that they perform a valuable service, and while it is not desirable work, it is respectable. On the other hand, personal injury attorneys are almost universally dismayed. Even other types of lawyers turn their backs on injury lawyers. Interestingly, anyone will tell you how you despise the accident attorney profession, but few can tell you why; and even fewer can speak from personal experience. Where this wave of discontent finds its roots is anyone’s guess. So why does the world love to hate personal injury attorneys?
Generally, people perceive injury attorneys as these vultures waiting for an accident to happen, and when one does, they swoop in blamelessly to make a quick buck. At the very least, this is a gross distortion of reality. To suggest that accident lawyers expect people to be harmed or take advantage of the misfortunes of others is a crime. Since injury attorneys make their living because people get hurt, so do many occupations. For example, doctors are paid when patients are sick; the police are paid when a crime is committed; but doctors and policemen are not seen as benefiting 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, injuries are inevitable. In a just society, if someone is injured, the person responsible is responsible for the damages caused to the victim. All a personal injury attorney does is help the victim navigate the justice system so that they can claim the compensation they are legally entitled to.
Most injury skeptics accept the above statement: Victims deserve justice, and attorneys are needed to help them achieve that justice. Yet skepticism remains as they gawk at what they perceive to be outrageous amounts of money awarded in settlements and verdicts. Critics are wrong because it is not a lawyer, judge or even a politician who is responsible for assessing the dollar value of an injury; it is a jury made up of US citizens. Trial by jury is the cornerstone of our legal system and is one of the few elements of the judiciary that works well. Therefore, an attack on the verdicts is not only an attack on the precious ideal of American justice, it is also an act of self-inflicted on the attackers themselves, while the blame falls on a scapegoat.
Still, much criticism persists despite the admission that victims deserve justice and that verdict amounts are awarded fairly. The argument is that personal injury attorneys take too large a percentage of the victim’s compensation. In some cases, where millions of dollars are at stake, it may appear that the attorney is getting more than the lion’s share. This is not really the case. It is important to note that, in the vast majority of injury cases, the defendant is a multinational insurance company with virtually unlimited resources and the best attorneys money can buy. Fighting this type of competition on the court is not an easy task. It can take years to fight important cases, and when you consider the resources involved, attorneys get their fair share when all is said and done.
In short, personal injury attorneys provide an invaluable service to society and it is about time they garnered a pinch of respect. Unfortunately, it seems like they will always be the profession that society loves to hate.