Everyone hates lawsuits and lawyers, right? Well, I can’t force you to think differently but perhaps reading this article might change your mind about lawsuits and lawyers. I think all would agree that keeping our community safe and prosperous for our children is paramount. Everyone deserves a fair shot, yet sometimes that is not the reality. Bad things can happen, but it’s critical that we as a community correct our mistakes and at least make it less likely that the same bad thing happens again. It’s all about ACCOUNTABILITY. There is a lot of anti-lawsuit propaganda (typically from insurance companies), but consider a different perspective. Lawsuits and lawyers can make the community a safer place. How? Let me explain.
At Duckworth Law we help people who suffer life-changing injuries, based on fault of another. We all like to think we have total control, but the brutal reality is that the world can be cruel and unfair. A drunk driver can hit any one of us; you can get hurt at work in a freak accident; you can develop lung disease from asbestos. You might not be able to prevent your injury, but…..
YOU CAN make a difference for the next person, and make your community safer. In order to make a difference, the responsible party must be held accountable. Just like your kid won’t stop drawing with crayons on your wall unless disciplined, the drunk driver won’t stop driving drunk without accountability. This is where lawsuits and lawyers come in.
We learn about accountability as children, yet amazingly, as adults we seem even less likely to accept responsibility and accountability. Moreover, insurance companies have convinced many that lawsuits and lawyers are negative, when lawsuits and lawyers are simply holding insurance companies and corporations accountable. Lawsuits are society’s way of teaching bad people to not draw with crayons on our walls! If you hear someone complain about lawyers, it’s likely because they were actually held accountable by a lawsuit at some point in their life, and they are crying about it just like your toddler would cry when you scold them for drawing on the wall.
People who come to Duckworth Law often say are “not the suing type.” No one wants to file a lawsuit. People file lawsuits because they have to, and more importantly, to make a difference. Filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver, a reckless motorist, a fraudulent insurance company, or a company that makes a dangerous product, can teach that bad actor to be safer in the future. Holding people or companies accountable is critical to a safe and prosperous community.
I cringe at the phrase “frivolous lawsuits.” I only get paid if we win, and if I was filing frivolous lawsuits I would literally be out of business. Cases are too expensive and risky to go around filing frivolous cases. Tort lawsuits are only successful when someone (or a corporation) did something legally wrong, causing injury. Lawsuits are about accountability, and helping make our communities better by proper allocation of fault.
Lawsuits and Lawyers – Oh, there’s also the 7th Amendment to the Constitution
I am endlessly amazed at how people, and often politicians, attack trial lawyers like myself just for holding people accountable. There are two likely explanations: 1) They are just mad about being held accountable; and, 2) They need to sharpen up on the Constitution of the United States. The 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, found in the Bill of Rights, states:
In suits in common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Our founding fathers recognized it was vital to our society and democracy that Americans had the right to file lawsuits (specifically Jury trials) and that lawyers are critical to the fair presentation of any suit. You constantly hear Republican politicians bash trials lawsuits and lawyers, and yet they don’t even realize that they are directly attacking the Constitution of the United States. Attacking lawsuits and lawyers is akin saying people cannot own a rifle (second amendment) or speak freely (1st Amendment) or be arrested without due process (5th Amendment). If you attack one part of the Constitution, any part of the Constitution
If you were injured by a bad actor, consider contacting a lawyer. It may help make a difference in your community.