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Why do personal injury attorneys get such a bad rap?

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Sometimes called “ambulance chasers,” personal injury attorneys provide legal representation to those who claim to have been injured as a result of negligence or wrongdoing by an individual, company, government agency or other entity. Injuries of clients normally range from work-related to automobile and other accidents, and from medical mistakes to slip and fall accidents. The kind of law that personal injury attorneys practice is referred to as “tort” law.

Since personal injury attorneys are normally aggressive in their representation, there have been many movements to establish tort reform in recent years. Tort reform proponents argue that such reforms are needed because personal injury lawsuits have led to an excessive increase in health care costs. An astounding 15 million lawsuits are filed every year in the United States. Also, countless doctors have had to leave their practice or relocate because of cost-related medical malpractice insurance rates. The Harvard School of Public Health has recently found that only 60 percent of medical malpractice litigation cases produced evidence of medical error.

Personal injury lawyers have codes of conduct, which they must abide. State bar associations have the power to take disciplinary action against those individuals who violate professional or ethical policies. The American Bar Association Joint Committee on Lawyer Regulation offers support to state bar associations in order to help them draft, apply and promote regulation regarding personal injury lawyers.

Our society has become somewhat of a “compensation culture.” A compensation culture basically means that it has become commonplace for anyone who has suffered a personal injury of some kind to take legal action against an individual or company connected with the injury, even if the injury is trivial or the connection is questionable, for monetary purposes. The plaintiff is usually someone who was persuaded, either by family members or a law firm, to sue. Too many injury attorneys or law firms specializing in personal injury cases have commercials on television with the intention of attracting clients who may not be interested in suing initially. They claim to have won millions of dollars for previous clients and stress that injured individuals are owed compensation. Lawsuits vary from frivolous to serious. A frivolous lawsuit may involve someone who had slipped and fell on someone else’s property, while a serious lawsuit may involve someone who was paralyzed as a result of a car accident. Some frivolous lawsuits may be settled outside of court if the cost of defending a case is greater than the settlement amount.

Although personal injury lawyers may get a “bad rap” because of the way today’s society has a propensity to sue, most of them believe wholeheartedly in the law and are simply doing their jobs. When you are injured and in pain, it is much harder to represent yourself in court. If the injury is a result of another individual or company’s negligence, then you deserve proper compensation for your suffering. A good, honest and experienced personal injury attorney will make sure that your best interests are represented in court.

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