Personal-injury lawyers better than stereotype

Lawyers are often called bloodsuckers who satisfy their greed at other people’s expense.

As a person who writes the marketing language for lawyers who want to acquire personal-injury and mass tort cases, I can show a side of these professionals that most people don’t know.

First of all, they are not looking for cases that have no legal foundation. Injury and accident cases that I write for require a considerable investment by the law firms themselves. Litigation is very expensive, and firms can’t afford to take on flimsy cases.

I supply the marketing language for many mass tort cases. These typically are on a regional or national scale and involve a large group of people who have suffered from either negligence or unintended harm at the hands of drug or medical device manufacturers.

Acquiring these cases requires crafting precise messages and then getting them in front of the victims or their families and friends. I have spoken to victims who live with terrible injury and yet are reluctant to accuse a manufacturer of hurting them, since perhaps no harm was intended.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer is smart enough to price its products to cover the known likelihood that a certain number of people will be adversely affected by the drug or device.

There’s rarely a way to make these products without harmful side effects. Manufacturers therefore conduct extensive product tests to predict the percentage and types of consumers who might be harmed.

Labels are supposed to warn sufficiently and clearly of side effects, but they do not always do so.

Whenever I receive an unedited message a law firm wants to use to advertise for valid prospects, I delete almost all instances of “victim” and replace it with language that will appeal to those who have actually been harmed and repel people who might be trying to take advantage.

When real victims know a law firm is sorting with utmost care, they are more confident that the attorneys are honorable and that they will do their best to win fair compensation for clients.

Lawyers miss a lot of opportunities to assure victims that they’re working honorably. It’s rather funny to watch. These lawyers ramp up the victim language, the mean faces and the mean talk about beating up manufacturers.

This works with some consumers, but it makes others feel dirty and unwilling to be fought over for money. Of course, this doesn’t matter to law firms that attract all the victims they want with a tough-guy image.

You will see big personal-injury ads lining the inroads to cities and in airports and on the front and back covers of phone books and other publications because competition for victims is heavy.

And since most law firms are pretty bad at marketing, they usually compete with messages that sound the same as the next firm’s.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why personal injury lawyers have a reputation as bloodsuckers. They sound like they want your permission to fight over your loss so they can make a bunch of money.

But most earn the bad reputation without deserving it. Most are not rich, and most actually do care about fighting for just causes.

Victims love good legal representation. I filter marketing messages meticulously because I know that attorneys can do wonderful things for people who have been hurt by manufacturers that might or might not be negligent but that are responsible for compensating injured customers.

I also know that victims have difficulty sorting through the barrage of lawyer advertising.

As personal as it is, it’s all business. Side effects are both inevitable and predictable to some extent, and manufacturers have to survive and pay their large workforce. At the same time, the victim cannot afford to be sidelined in life.

Most consumers don’t realize that good attorneys must invest large amounts of their own money in a winnable case, and the returns might not come in for a year or two — or even four to six years.

Max T. Russell of New Palestine writes for the international business intelligence community. He can be reached via his website, maxt