Lawyer advertising; Fact or Fiction?
Have you turned on your TV at home lately? Notice anything different? I have; Every other commercial on television seems to be from a personal injury lawyer. Many of them boast how much money they have obtained for their clients. Some use testimonials from what appears to be former clients talking about how successful their case was; “Attorney X got me $450,000!” “Attorney Y got me a $1 million dollars!” “Attorney Z got me $359,000!”
Notice in all of those ads that the supposed client never says what happened to them? Also notice that the ads have disclaimers that read “dramatization; actual results may vary.” What all of this television advertising does is give others, less familiar with the laws and value of personal injury cases, to think that all personal injury cases are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When we talk about a client netting a $400,000 recovery, more likely than not the value of the case is probably more than 2 or 3 times that amount, to allow enough money for the lawyer to obtain their 1/3 fee, and to cover all of their medical bills. Believe me, the insurance companies are not going to pay out $400,0o0 or $1.2 million dollars for nothing! Individuals with those type of cases, usually have broken bones, major surgeries, have permanent and significant long term injuries, may have been in the hospital for an extended period of time, and may have medical bills that run in the six figures. These are not your every day run of the mill accident cases. These are significant injury cases, that can take years to resolve.
I don’t know anyone who would trade their body for cash. No one wants to be involved in an accident but certainly if it happens, you hope that you are not injured, or if you are, in a short period of time, you have made a complete recovery. No one wants to be told, they need surgery, or perhaps multiple surgeries, may miss months of work, may need extensive physical therapy and at the end of the day, wind up with a significant 10-20% permanent impairment.
What these ads do is give the impression to the unwary consumer, that being in an accident is like winning Powerball. It is not about hitting the jackpot. Being in an accident is serious business. While lawyers have a right to market their services and advertise on television, perhaps explaining what REALLY HAPPENED to their clients, would go along way of providing a public service to the average lay person, who has no idea what the true value of their case might be.