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In Defense Of The "Ambulance Chaser"

When I first went into the practice of Personal Injury Law, I experienced my fair share of ribbing. I used to dread that moment at a party when I was asked, “So what do you do?” Inevitably, someone would laugh and say, “Oh. You’re an ambulance chaser…hahaha.” Even if they didn’t say it, I could see from their expression that they were thinking it.

Who could blame them for their perceptions of what I do? We’re bombarded by TV commercials of lawyers promising to get people lots of money if they’ve suffered an injury. Some of them are indeed shameless. In a business where monetary gain is based on the severity of a person’s injury, it’s easy to see why there is such a negative perception of personal injury lawyers.

But the truth is, we’re not all bad. After practicing Personal Injury law for about twenty years, I’ve come to realize that this world would be a different place if it weren’t for the work that we do. Personal Injury Law makes the world a safer place for people. Someone who has never had to make a personal injury claim may take for granted the benefits that come from making people accountable for the safety of their fellow citizens.

Do you really think that General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have produced safer cars over the last several decades because they care about people? Or is it that they know they stand to lose money in a lawsuit if they don’t?

And do the makers of consumer products make consumer safety a primary concern because they are nice? The number of past lawsuits involving unsafe products would suggest otherwise.

Most people take for granted that the food they eat, the medicine they take and the cosmetics they use, will be safe. Products are tried and tested before they hit the shelves, right? Why? Because companies know that there is a great deal of financial risk if their products harm the public.

Of course the government enforces consumer safety, but did you know that the government penalties for unsafe products are minor compared to the profits these companies make? Government penalties are written off as “the cost of doing business.”

However, being sued in a class action lawsuit is a different story for these companies. In a lawsuit, they stand to lose a great deal of money for creating dangerous products.

And parents, what about our playgrounds? As a child growing up, I remember rusty slides and worn out swings being the norm. Today, you would be hard pressed to find a dangerous piece of playground equipment at a school or otherwise. Certainly, personal injury lawsuits have helped to enforce that public playgrounds are maintained to ensure a safer environment for our children.

When someone has been seriously injured in an automobile or work accident and can no longer earn a living because of another person’s negligence, do you really trust insurance companies to do the right thing? After dealing with this type of thing for so long, I can say, without a doubt, the answer is no. When someone makes a claim, insurance companies may start off dealing with him or her in a friendly manner, but when it comes to actually paying the claim, they always look to pay the least amount they possibly can, whether it is for medical bills or a financial settlement. They employ people to go over every claim with a fine-tooth comb and root out different ways to deny it. That’s where we come in. A personal injury attorney has the tools to make insurance companies accountable.

Now when I’m at a party, I look forward to the question, “So, what do you do?” Why? Because I can say proudly that I help make the world a safer place!