Personal Injury Lawyers Bad Reputation Does Not Portray the Truth
“I swear my face is going to end up on the side of a bus!” Facepalm. Sigh. This is a common declaration of probable failure used by law students during finals week. It is known, even among baby jurists, that accident attorneys are perceived as the scum of the legal profession.
And, think about it, a face on the side of the bus urging you to sue your medical provider, neighbor, or your boss does not often inspire confidence. It seems like those people are money grubbers willing to push honest people under the same bus to get at millions they do not deserve.
This image is perpetuated by the stories we hear about personal injury settlements from society. For example, the famous McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit is more complicated than you know. A woman did sue McDonald’s after she spilled hot coffee after she received it from the drive-through window. She did also receive a settlement from McDonald’s, but did you know that she was permanently disfigured and that much of the settlement went toward paying for her medical costs?
While it is true that personal injury claims can cause conflict, be contentious, and cast blame for things that some find merely accidental. Personal injury settlements fill a need that cannot be compensated any other way.
For me, my opinion changed when my mom was killed. She was training for a marathon running on the side of the road when she was struck by a truck. At the time, I did not want to practice personal injury law. I did not like it. It was tedious, but I did not understand what such an accident could do to a family. Then one day, I did. I sat in the intensive care unit waiting for the organ donation team to harvest my mother’s organs. trying to come up with a plan.
When my mother was killed, my family was devastated. My parents had been married for 30 years. They had six children – two were still teenagers living at home. My father, in an instant, lost my mother’s income and her help at with the house, the yard, and the kids. My siblings and I were motherless and it was worst for the youngest. To add to that, we had a funeral to plan and pay for and more than $50,000.00 in medical bills.
Me, being the family lawyer, I collected medical bills, medical records, and incident reports. I negotiated a settlement for my family. The details are confidential. They always are. I will not tell you more than this. The settlement paid for the funeral, the medical bills, and for college education for my younger siblings.
The settlement did not help my father figure out what do on his 30th wedding anniversary all alone. It did help him learn how to keep up with the laundry or the housework, but it did provide peace of mind that his children will be taken care of, and his bills would have been paid.