Every industry has its share of misconceptions, and law is rife with them. In particular, a common and dangerous myth about the personal injury law industry is that the attorneys are ambulance chasers. While there are probably some attorneys who play into the stereotype, in my experience in the industry, most are talented and committed to helping their clients improve their lives. In this article, you’ll learn the reality behind personal injury law, how this myth hurts the industry and clients, and what industry leaders can do to change this misconception.
There are a tremendous number of personal injury law firms and lawyers out there that don’t fit the mold of an ambulance chaser. There is still a widespread belief, however, that hiring a personal injury attorney will be seen as spiteful. People think being in this predicament in the first place signals a lack of intelligence or education, so they blame themselves.
For example, one of my friends is a doctor. He was on his way to the hospital, and he slipped on ice and broke his foot. He couldn’t perform surgery. He believed it was entirely out of the question for him to ever hire a personal injury attorney. However, it was the hospital’s responsibility to salt the sidewalks to prevent falls. The injury prevented him from working and helping his patients.
Some people see personal injury lawyers as the bottom feeders in the industry. In my experience, many personal injury lawyers actually fund entire lawsuits on their own because they believe in their clients and cases. I find that many litigators are talented individuals who don’t work hourly and don’t take time off.
As a result of these misconceptions, some people are scared away from hiring an attorney in a situation where they probably should, just because they think it looks malicious. But as personal injury attorneys, our job is to help clients determine what’s in their best interest.
Here’s another example. The opioid crisis is in the news almost every day. I have personally met with a lot of survivors. They don’t think anyone will ever take them seriously because they’ve been hooked on medicine. They blame themselves for their inability to get off their medication despite tremendous efforts, and it’s horribly sad. That’s why, in my opinion, these opioid victims have stayed quiet for so long.
While changing the “ambulance chaser” misconception won’t be easy, it is possible. Portraying litigations and plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys in a proper light instead of doing hokey commercials — “Call me now! I’m your guy!” — is the solution. Committing to being authentic and promoting the industry in a clear-cut way is an important step if you want to disprove the myth.
Breaking this stereotype will take a village. Personal injury lawyers should speak frankly about the misconceptions and address clients’ concerns openly. There are many media outlets for attorneys to voice their opinions and experience. This will allow people to see the more personal side of this profession, helping the myths and misconceptions eventually unravel.
Contrary to popular belief, personal injury attorneys do what they do because they care about helping their clients move forward in their lives. Hopefully, our next generation will think of the personal injury law industry as respectable and sympathetic, and not as ambulance chasers and bottom feeders.
Please do not attempt to determine if you have a compensable case. You must consult a relevant liability attorney who has the expertise and extensive knowledge necessary to determine who ultimately caused the harm and injuries you or a loved one suffered. Contact us for a free case evaluation here.