Personal Injury claims get a bad rap. Most people hate Personal Injury Lawyers and are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to all Personal Injury claims.
Some of the negative sentiment is self-inflicted, an understandable reaction to aggressive television commercials and billboards. The publicity given to unusual cases like the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case doesn’t help either.
Nevertheless, Personal Injury Claims can serve a legitimate public service beyond just providing compensation to the individual victims. Personal Injury Claims can punish wrongdoers for unsafe behavior and provide financial incentives for safety improvements.
What is the price of Unsafe Behavior?
When someone acts carelessly and causes an accident that injures someone, they are responsible to pay for the harm they cause. That is the essence of a Personal Injury case. The payment for harm can be viewed either as what the victim receives for compensation or as the Price of unsafe behavior.
What Good can come from a fair compensation award?
When a jury renders a substantial verdict in a Personal Injury Case, it can provide a financial incentive for the Defendant, or others in similar situations, to act more carefully or make changes to avoid future injuries and claims.
Examples are numerous.
If a Jury decides that a particular product is dangerous and punishes the manufacturer with significant Personal Injury awards, it motivates the manufacturer to make the product safer or to warn the customers of the danger in order to avoid legal claims.
Back in the 1970’s, The Ford Motor Company manufactured the Pinto which had a gas tank that was vulnerable to catch fire in rear end accidents. Ford knew about the danger, but initially calculated that the cost of a recall was greater than the cost of paying for injuries and deaths. Multiple lawsuits with large verdicts for families of drivers and passengers who burned to death eventually motivated Ford to make changes to improve safety.
Tobacco companies steadfastly denied that their products caused cancer until lawsuits motivated them to change their advertising and provide health warnings.
Lawsuits regarding unsafe conditions on public or commercial properties encourage property owners to fix dangerous conditions in order to avoid legal claims.
Large verdicts for compensation in Drunk Driving or Driving While Texting car accidents provide financial incentives for people to follow the law and drive more carefully.
Lawsuits against doctors and hospitals encourage improvements in medical care that can make the medical system better and safer for everyone.
A Different Way to Look at Personal Injury Claims
Instead of having the knee-jerk reaction that all Personal Injury cases are bad, that the person is probably faking and the lawyer is one of those greedy television lawyers, think twice. Instead, try thinking about how Personal Injury claims can provide the public service of making the world a safer place by punishing unsafe behavior and encouraging safety improvements.
Tim Rayne is a Personal Injury Lawyer with the Chester County Pennsylvania law firm MacElree Harvey. For 25 years, Tim has been helping injured accident victims receive fair compensation after being injured. Tim has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania. Contact Tim Rayne for a Free Consultation at 6108400124 or [email protected]