In Defense of Lawyers
When an accident or incident occurs, one party is outraged and seeks justice. The other side is equally upset. In the old West, the parties would have resorted to a duel, but in modern times, litigants can, and must, turn to the courts.
In personal injury cases, it is important to remember that even in the most “obvious” cases, both sides have a legal position to present. That is where the nuance of each personal injury case comes in. Can a personal injury victim represent himself in such a situation? The answer is “yes.” But, is it advisable? Here is where the value of a personal injury lawyer comes into play.
The value of lawyers in society has been put into a stark relief with recent hot media cases. Whether the case has to do with alleged police brutality, campus sexual violence, or any of several recent news topics, which have been played up in the media. The role of lawyers has been downplayed at the expense of the truth.
It is the law profession which emphasizes the fact that the truth comes out from the intelligent back and forth between different litigants. In our profession, nuance is emphasized. It is not just what the witness describes, but the way his testimony comes out. At first blush, everyone may believe they know what has happened in a given event. It is the job of the lawyers to get to the bottom of the case and discover the truth.
Personal injury cases may not share the spotlight with recent cases which have been much-discussed in the media, but all cases deserve the full time effort and intensive focus of assigned counsel. While members of the public who think they know what happened are marching in the streets, it is the job of the lawyer to speak to the witnesses, question them carefully and yes, watch the way they present their side of the story.
Recently, a victim of a serious personal injury came to our office. Other attorneys had advised him that even though his injuries were severe and permanent, there was no case to be asserted. Close questioning and the employment of skilled accident reconstruction experts showed that the injury victim was in the right. Had the public chosen to march in the streets (as unlikely as that would be), they might have missed the obvious fact: our client was free from negligence and deserved a significant compensation.
So, while the media continues to turn up the volume on legal cases, remember that it is the job of the legal system to get to the truth. While it may not be glamourous or popular, courts and lawyers need to spend the time to question witnesses and to sift the evidence. By doing so, not only may injury victims come to receive substantial compensation, but society in general may be comforted by the fact that we have the world’s best legal system, and despite rumors to the contrary, it still works.