As a personal injury attorney for over 20 years, I still find it surprising sometimes when I talk to people who don't really understand what I do for a living. Occasionally, even close friends wonder exactly what our law firm does. There is a lot of misunderstanding out there when it comes to why I do what I do, and how I do it.
1). Hey, You're Just an Ambulance Chaser.
I've heard every lawyer joke out there, believe me. I smile when someone approaches me with the newest one, because I understand that there are so many misconceptions out there about lawyers in general, and particularly personal injury lawyers. Thanks to the endless barrage of attorney television and radio advertising, we have been labeled as ‘ambulance chasers', saddled with the perception that we will stop at nothing to gain new clients.
Attorney advertising is strictly governed by the rules of the Florida Bar, and attorneys are required to abide by a strict standard of ethics in adhering to their advertising regulations. Thanks to the internet, most consumers find an attorney by surfing the web, where they can read up on different law firms and the attorneys who work there. This has been instrumental in providing real information for consumers to read and make an informed decision when looking for a lawyer.
2). Attorneys Wouldn't Be So Expensive if They Didn't Spend So Much on Advertising.
The vast majority of our work helping people who have been hurt in an accident that was not their fault – right around 75% – comes from personal referrals. Friends and relatives of people we have represented before refer clients to us, and we are gratified by their recommendations. Yes, we do advertise, but you won't see our faces splashed across your TV every day. First of all, we admit we don't have the same marketing budget as some of the ‘TV attorneys' you see so often. And secondly, you probably don't want to see our faces on TV, anyway.
Most importantly, when you hire us to represent your legal rights in a personal injury case, you don't pay us a penny unless we reach a successful outcome on your behalf. We derive our livelihood from a percentage of the funds awarded to you, either in a trial or through negotiating a successful settlement.
When we established our firm fifteen years ago, we knew we had to market our name to the local community. I'm not ashamed of making efforts to grow our business, just like any other business owner. Those who refer to myself and others like me as ‘ambulance chasers' have most likely never been in the position of needing our legal services. You can read actual testimonials from people we have represented, and begin to understand why I chose to practice personal injury law.
3). You're Just in it For the Money.
Long before I graduated law school, I knew that I wanted to practice personal injury law. My father was in the same profession, and I learned at an early age exactly what I wanted to do for a living. I saw and heard throughout my life how my dad truly helped people, and the real friendships he made by what he did. I've posted blogs before about how our clients don't ever know when they may need our help. People don't get up in the morning and decide to ‘shop' for a personal injury lawyer. But, when they are suddenly involved in some type of accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, they need help.
Being involved in an accident and attempting to put your life back together in the aftermath can be an extremely trying experience, and not one recommended for the faint-of-heart. When you hire our firm, your problems instantly become our problems. We've been doing this for so long that we know exactly how to deal with the giant insurance companies – who, by the way, are not your friends. (You can read more about that here). We also have the financial resources to handle your medical expenses on your behalf, prior to obtaining any financial settlement or jury award. Not every personal injury firm can say that.
Is it my goal to make a decent living, while growing my business and providing a fostering environment where my employees are happy to come to work? Yes, it is. But I can assure you, the most gratifying and rewarding part of what I do are the comments I receive and the look of relief I see on the faces of our clients after we help get them the compensation they deserve under the law. That's why I chose to practice personal injury law.
4). Most Cases Never Go to Trial.
Court trials are expensive, and can be very lengthy. Large insurance company's attorneys and adjusters know this. Through tough negotiating, letting them know that our firm is prepared to go to trial, we settle most personal injury cases prior to that happening.
We've been doing this long enough that the insurance companies we deal with know our reputation, and that we always fully prepare as if a case will end up in the courtroom. This is not the case at a lot of other firms. On television, whether it's on the local news or some crime drama show, people only see the flashy culmination of what could have been years of hard work. Believe me, television shows dealing with the law are never really close to representing reality. There's nothing glamorous about it, and it never comes down to that shocking, last-minute “Perry Mason moment” you may have seen on TV.
It's hard work, from the moment you hire us to the conclusion of your case.
5). Tort Reform Does Not Lead to Better or Cheaper Health Care
Tort reform is a movement among those who believe that there is too much unnecessary civil litigation in the U.S., and that there should be limits, or caps, on the amount a person is allowed to recover. This is a tremendously contentious political issue. Advocates of tort reform are seeking limits on a person's ability to file claims, as well as limits as to how much money can be awarded for damages.
The problem is, those theories have never been proven. In fact, there have been numerous studies conducted that indicate the exact opposite. Tort reform studies have found:
• “Consistent evidence that patient safety generally falls” after damage caps are enacted.
• “Caps on damages” actually increase health care costs.
• When a state passes caps, the only kinds of doctors the state seems to attract are plastic surgeons.
You can read a report on the topic here.
Need Help After an Accident? That's Why We're Here…
People who have been hurt through no fault of their own deserve the opportunity to obtain a suitable financial recovery, and to begin to put their lives back together. So many misperceptions exist because, frankly, most people are just not familiar with what actually goes on during a personal injury case. Our clients – most of whom called us in their time of need after a tragic accident has altered their lives – understand that going it alone is not an option.
If you or someone you care about suffers a serious injury as the result of an accident caused by someone else's negligence, give us a call at 239-461-5508, or fill out the simple form here. It won't cost a thing to sit down with us to analyze your situation and determine how we can help.