Why do Some People Look Down on Lawyers who Practice Personal Injury Law?
Some of the common criticisms that you hear about lawyers who represent injured people include the following:
1. That personal injury lawyers do not care about their clients and they are only interested in the money.
2. Personal injury lawyers make our economy less efficient where businesses have to deal with claims from injured people.
3. Personal injury lawyers represent people who are exaggerating or lying about the severity of their injury.
4. Personal injury lawyers charge too much money.
Some of the criticism against personal injury lawyers comes from those people who have to answer to them. In representing claims for injured people, a Plaintiff personal injury lawyer is usually suing an insurance company, a large corporation, or a government. In almost every case the insurance company, corporation, or government does not want to be sued and do not want to pay. These big businesses and big governments have more control over the media than injury victims and their lawyer. Personal injury lawyers who are good and committed therefore often make very powerful enemies. Large corporations and the government are powerful and influential when they work with the media such as newspapers or news channels on television.
There are large lobbies in the United States and Canada who are devoted to attacking personal injury lawyers and the legal system that allows injured people to obtain damages. These lobbyists will try to get the governments to pass laws that are favorable to corporations and insurance companies by limiting the rights of those people who are injured. Some tactics they will use include trying to find a case that could be construed as being unfair or where an injured person received more compensation then perhaps they should have. They will pick these few odd cases and try to bring as much publicity to them as they can through press releases and feeding news channels with this information. One example from a couple of decades ago is a case where an elderly lady suffered serious burns when a coffee she bought at McDonald's spilled on her. The way that this case was presented to the general public through the media was inaccurate. It made it look as though the woman had received way too much compensation and that the system for compensating injured people was out of touch with reality, giving them too much money. In fact, my experience is the opposite that most people are undercompensated and do not get the compensation they should when they are injured at the fault of another and are claiming against an insurance company. If you are interested in learning more about the McDonald's coffee case and how it was exploited by those large corporate forces, you can check out the documentary by Susan Saladoff www.hotcoffeethemovie.com. Variety magazine called this an "eye opening indictment of the way big business spins the media".
Like any profession or business, some people are more caring than others. Just as some doctors have a good bedside manner and others do not, in the same way some lawyers can come across as uncaring and too motivated by money. At MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law we have bills to pay and families to support like everybody so we do have to make money and we are motivated to make more. However, we do not want to do this at the expense of our clients we do it by getting them fair compensation in a system that makes that very difficult to do. Obtaining full compensation for an injured person through the civil courts is a difficult and trying process for both the accident victim and the lawyer.
Legal fees can be substantial. At MacGillivray Law Office we do what many personal injury lawyers do and charge a contingency fee. This means that the injured person does not have to pay until and unless there is a successful result. The fees range from 25% to 33% depending on how far along the case progresses. These rates are competitive with law firms across North America. We are also willing to invest heavily in a case and the insurance companies and corporate Defendants cannot outspend us. Most of our competitors cannot say this. We will hire as many experts as we need to help obtain a just result for our injured clients. We typically invest between $2,000 and $10,000 in cash expenses a smaller case but on larger cases can end up spending anywhere from $25,000 to over $100,000 to obtain expert reports from doctors, engineers and other experts depending on the type of case and the particular facts.
Often in an injury case we have to obtain an expert on a particular type of industry to help educate the court about the standards and why the Defendant's conduct was below the standard causing injury or economic loss to our injured or wronged clients.
Our lawyers are everyday people and we try not to be overly concerned with things like money and status. We want to treat people right and have a positive effect on our clients who have been injured or otherwise wronged by the negligence or intentional acts of another. We know that life is short and in the end the benefits of money and status are only a temporary illusion. We feel what really matters are people, our compassion towards them, and our ability to help them. We also try to help each other within our office and keep an atmosphere of compassion, acceptance, and fellowship and this is the same philosophy we apply to our clients. Of course there will be bad days or miscommunication where someone is upset or feels they are not getting enough attention but the key to this is communication.
Our clients who have been injured are often frustrated and understandably so. Similarly, we face the same frustrations when trying to advance the case for injured people. We are often disappointed in the delays and lack of response that we sometimes encounter but we persevere and persist. The key for a client who has been injured and who we represent is for them to communicate to us their concern and in turn we will work with them to try and develop the best solution and strategy for proceeding. We want them to understand that we are on top of their case and help us keep track of how they are doing and what medical assistance and other support we could possibly provide them with or gain access to through their insurance company.
Just as there are a small proportion of lawyers who are too focused on money and status that they lose the ability to care, there are also a small proportion of injury victims who are extremely difficult to satisfy. These people are sometimes constitutionally incapable of being happy or of maintaining a good relationship with anybody. We will deal with very difficult people with compassion and understanding but cannot accept abuse or give one client so much attention that we are compromising the interest of our very nice cooperative and trusting clients. For this reason, there are some cases that we cannot take on despite the fact that we do care for those people.
The biggest problem for a personal injury lawyer is trying to advance the case as quickly as possible without sacrificing the long-term interest of the injured person or the person who is being wrongfully denied some type of insurance benefit. The courts can be very friendly and helpful to an injured person but the system is crowded and sometimes criminal cases take priority over civil cases involving injured people. Without alienating the Judge or antagonizing the court we do everything we can to make sure that your problem is being understood and that its urgency is being appreciated by the Judge and court system. Many cases do not have to go to Trial but we do have to work the case along quite a ways in order for the insurer to appreciate the nature of the injured person's claim and the compensation that we feel they are entitled to. Insurance companies know that our firm will fight cases through Trial.
Our lawyers work out of offices in central Halifax and downtown New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. If coming to us is difficult, we can come to you. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you overcome a serious injury and provide you with the support you and your family need. Contact us today for more information.