Debunking The Myth About Lawyers Getting Rich Over Lawsuits

Being a lawyer is considered one of the best paying jobs for both women and men. In February 2013, business magazine and website, Forbes, released its list of the best paying jobs for women in 2013. Lawyers ranked third on the list, earning a median of $1,636 a week or about $85,000 a year. Women lawyers comprise 33% of the profession and earn 80% as much as their male counterparts. Richest.org, a website which discusses everything about the richest people in the world and their net worth, included lawyers in its top 10 highest paying jobs. Published in 2012, Richest.org explained that “lawyers are needed because their jobs are connected to practically every aspect of our lives.”

Related: How does bankruptcy affect my case?

Debunking the myth about lawyers
Lawyers, especially personal injury lawyers, are thought of getting rich and making big bucks because of the “frivolous lawsuits” they file. We are thought of as money grubbing scum. They say these lawsuits cost an average American citizen thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums. “Frivolous lawsuits” are described as lawsuits which have no legal basis and those which just clog the courts. This is not true!

As a Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer, I must say that this is far from the truth. Lawyers do not get rich because of “frivolous lawsuits.” What actually happens is that insurance companies have put out a lot of anti-lawsuit propaganda and well-funded public relations campaign to manipulate public opinion. They tell the general public that frivolous lawsuits are the cause of high insurance rates. This is not true. This is what Tort reform is all about. 

Behind the scenes of a law firm
No one knows the heartache and tears shed inside personal injury law firms for people involved in accidents. It isn’t professional to allow it to be seen. This is not the image that is portrayed on television and in the news. We are supposed to be there for our clients and they need to see our strength and resolve, not our tears. If our emotions get in the way, we are seen as weak. That emotion could have a negative impact on our client’s case. Only a personal injury lawyer really knows the thousands of hours they put into preparing a case for trial. It is not the client that thinks we are greedy because they know us and how much we care. We love helping our clients. I guess carrying the impression of a cold hearted, money grubbing jerk is what it takes to accomplish the best for my clients, I will wear that badge with honor.

Related: Should Kentucky Accident Victims Settle Their Cases Out Of Court?

How insurance companies come into play
The truth is insurance companies are about profits, and they are using their advertising dollars to false reports, frame legitimate lawsuits as frivolous and promote this untruth. The notion that U.S. Courts are flooded with frivolous lawsuits and greedy lawyers was dispelled in 2011 when “Hot Coffee,” a documentary film by trial lawyer and filmmaker Susan Saladoff, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had its broadcast premiere on HBO in June 2011.

Hot Coffee documentary
“Hot Coffee” is a documentary on the Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, more popularly known as the McDonald’s coffee case. Saladoff used this particular case to debunk the myth of the frivolous lawsuit and exposed how McDonald’s, the insurance industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have distorted the facts of the case. The film is very eye opening. If you think rich lawyers are unethical, watch this film. Do not let any myth keep you from getting the legal assistance you need from a lawyer. If you or your loved ones got hurt in an accident, consult with a personal injury lawyer to know your rights and options before you talk to any insurance company. They will save you frustration, money and you will know the truth.

 

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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