I’m A Spokane Personal Injury Attorney (And proud of it)
I read an internet article recently about personal injury attorneys and one commentator after the article said “Personal injury attorneys are the scum of the earth.” That so many people share that sentiment is sad and frankly an ignorant response to reality. Insurance companies are often the real problem. Every day I deal with multi-billion dollar insurance companies who make their money paying injured people less than they deserve. They take outrageous positions to justify making money at the expense of injured people. I cannot tell you how many cases I have had where the insurance company refused to pay any money at all or very little because of some outrageous legal position – only to pay hundreds of thousands or more later after I am hired or I file a lawsuit. I once settled a case for well over a two million dollars when, initially, the insurance company offered nothing because it claimed my client was at fault.
This sort of thing does not just happen occasionally – it happens every single day, day-in and day-out, in my office. Beginning in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the insurance companies funded a relentless campaign to brain wash the citizens of this country that there are too many frivolous lawsuits and that greedy personal injury attorneys are behind it. I find it telling that when I ask people if they think there are too many frivolous lawsuits – they readily agree, but they are dumbfounded when I ask them to please consider the possibility that there are just as many frivolous defenses – that is, defenses where a person clearly caused damage to another and they either refuse to pay or offer significantly less than is deserved. When I ask that question, it quickly becomes clear that they have never considered this. Why? Because insurance companies have not spread that message for the last 40 years.
Have you noticed how many commercials there are on television for insurance company? The air waves are saturated with that gecko; Flow; mayhem and many others. How can these companies afford to be on television constantly? The answer is easy – they make billions by collecting premiums every month and then when it is time to pay claims, do everything that they can to not pay. I work tirelessly to do the impossible – to try to even the playing field for the single, isolated person who was injured through no fault of their own and who must now face these mega-corporations in a community of people who somehow think like the commentator above – that people in my profession are the scum of the earth.
Show me the money
Many people come to me after feeling bullied by an insurance company feeling guilty about seeking compensation for their injuries and seeking help from an attorney. How convenient for the insurance company that so many people feel this way. Again, this is not a coincidence – it is the result of years of brainwashing people. How else could it be that people are guilty about hiring an attorney, only after it becomes apparent that one is needed because of negative interactions with the insurance company, just to get a fair resolution from a multi-billion dollar company who has collected premiums to cover their exact type of injury?
Anyway, I always tell my clients to relax because it is impossible for me or any lawyer to take advantage of these companies. They are too big and too strong to take advantage of. Our mission is to push hard to get settlements into the “fair” rage, as opposed to the insurance companies’ goal, which seems to be to settle cases about thirty percent below fair.
On a bigger scale it looks like this.
- Governments require car owners, businesses, property owners, and other entities to have insurance to be legally licensed.
- When an accident occurs due to negligence, bad design, dangerous conditions or any other situation, the insurance company is there to pay damages.
- Without a personal injury attorney to represent the injured party, the insurance company will pay as little as possible and will use whatever legal means possible to get the injured party to agree with the terms; OR they will claim their client is NOT responsible and the injured party gets nothing.
- With a personal injury attorney as their advocate, the injured party will be able to show negligence and liability and seek legal means if necessary to make the insurance company pay the compensation the injured party needs and deserves.
- To keep from losing money in the future, the insurance company will back political clients who will pass tort reform laws (laws that limit how much an injured person can recover and the circumstances under which they can recover them); hire advertising agencies to push anti-lawsuit and anti-personal injury attorney campaigns so that the general populous believes that consumers are bringing too many lawsuits and must be stopped; demand more money from their negligent clients or drop them all together as clients; and demand safer behavior from their clients until they can insure them, take their premiums and feel safe that they will not have to pay anything else in the future. They don’t offer insurance because they like to write checks, they offer insurance when the risk factors show that they will make money. They have large teams of specialists to reduce their risks.
Conclusion: I cannot speak for every Personal Injury Attorney. In fact, I know some that I suspect should not be in practice or need to make serious changes to how they represent clients. But on the whole, we exist to make the world better. I wish the guy who wrote that nasty comment and the scores of people who share his view could see the whole picture. Personal injury attorneys make the world a safer place to live. I happen to think that makes it a noble profession.