There’s no shortage of unsavory names attributed to personal injury lawyers, but the real reason why people hate accident lawyers is a combination of public perception, media sensationalism, and a few bad apples.
It doesn’t take long to hear horror story after horror story about someone who knows someone who had a nightmare of an attorney. These kinds of stories spread quickly and often take on a life of their own while the real story falls quietly by the wayside. Some people say their attorney never called them back, they never met with their lawyer face to face, or they feel that their lawyer took too much of their settlement money.
While some attorneys that may operate that way, few people realize that most accident lawyers do not get paid unless their client wins. An attorney takes on an enormous amount of complex work with every case, spending many hours completing the appropriate paperwork, making phone calls, and filling the right motions at the right time and with the right people.
Public perception of personal injury lawyers also includes the idea that they sit around all day filing frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit in hopes that something will stick. But most lawyers would go out of business faster than they could take their next case if they operated in such a manner.
Media sensationalism is a major part of why the public perceives attorneys as they do. You turn on the evening news and hear about some random lawsuit that has everyone rolling their eyes and decrying the “sue-happy” nature of the country.
However, you rarely hear about the personal injury lawyer who won a case on behalf of the single mom who was rear-ended by a drunk driver or the hard-working dad who was just trying to cross the street and was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver. Those kinds of stories make up the clear majority of personal injury cases, but they won’t cause a news story to go viral, so you rarely get to hear about them.
Frivolous lawsuits stir up anger and generate comments, so they are convenient stories to exploit. One example of how the media formed public perception is the case in which an elderly woman sued McDonald’s because her coffee was hot. Even though this case happened in 1992, it still has the ability to get people fired up and raging about justice in America. What the media failed to tell the public was that her coffee was so dangerously hot that she sustained third-degree burns and required extensive skin grafts to her inner thighs and legs.
Accident Lawyers’ Fees
Many people realize they are ill-suited to go up against a big corporation, a team of malpractice attorneys, or an insurance agency, but they still dread the thought of how much hiring a lawyer will cost.
But most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win the case. They do not bill for the hours spent on the telephone, making copies, filling out and filing paperwork, and all the research that goes into a specific case.
Depending on how involved your case is and the estimated time that goes into your case, they will take a percentage of any compensation won on your behalf. Even with this fee, most people walk away with a significantly higher amount than if they were to try and take on their own case.
The Bad Apples
With any career, there will always be a small percentage of people who make the rest look bad. This is no different for lawyers. It’s the few bad lawyers you hear about the most.
It is important to choose a reputable lawyer with a proven history and experience so you can avoid the unsavory attorneys. In the Staten Island area, choose a reputable personal injury lawyer with Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP.