“Jackpot Justice”

It is amazing to watch television commercials advertising lawyer services for personal injury cases. One often sees a client holding a fist full of cash praising their lawyer for securing a large cash settlement. The client is typically shown smiling and happily talking about how much money they received from their personal injury claim. These ads have often surprised me because it is typically only in the very serious case that clients receive large settlement amounts and in those cases, they usually deserve the amounts of the settlement because their injuries are typically horrendous. It is hard to imagine our clients smiling about these matters because typically large cash settlements mean that the victims have suffered life altering and permanent injuries from which they will never recover.
The insurance lobby has been successful in portraying personal injury claimants not as innocent victims, but rather as those seeking “jackpot justice.” The propaganda is that many people are not injured at all, they simply want money. Of course, given the human condition, there are always those who will embellish their injuries and who may be motivated by secondary gain. The propaganda is an insult to those victims who are unfortunate enough to be seriously injured by the negligence of a third party.
Our experience has proven over and over again that those who receive significant cash settlements are those who deserve such an award. A child has been killed, a leg has been lost, a back broken. These are hardly the kinds of injuries that result in people smiling about money. Usually money is inadequate to compensate the victim for the loss of their independence and a loss of the lifestyle that they experienced prior to injury. Thus, the myth of “jackpot justice” is just that, a myth. The truly deserving clients are not seeking money simply to inherit a windfall from a tragedy. Rather they are seeking justice, which can only be monetary compensation to provide some level of compensation for that which they have lost, which is usually the most precious gift of all, good health. Obviously, if someone’s health is impaired significantly enough their livelihood can be endangered and their earning capacity greatly diminished. Indeed, in many of our more serious cases, our clients can never work again and lose their career, their livelihood, their home, their credit and virtually everything they once had because of the severity of their injuries.
We reject the premise that personal injury victims are always seeking “jackpot justice.” Insurance companies will aways promote such propaganda because it serves their bottom line interests. Those attorneys who advertise with smiling clients full of cash in their hands unfortunately promote such stereotypical views that are then exploited by the insurance industry. In reality, those clients who receive cash awards in any significant amount are truly the most deserving as they have been seriously injured through no fault of their own and are usually well deserving of any compensation they receive.

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