Some attorneys practice corporate law. Others handle real estate transactions or divorces. Many attorneys represent insurance companies. All lawyers have a role to play in the legal system. My role is to help accident victims. It is a job I love.
My clients are the victims of careless actions. They were harmed by negligent drivers, doctors, property owners, and product manufacturers. Many have suffered injuries that ended their careers or produced other long-term impacts on their lives. Some of my clients have permanent disabilities. Other clients are grieving the death of a spouse, parent, or child.
I cannot take away pain or restore a lost life, but I can assist accident victims in other ways. I can help them recover their lost income. I can make insurance companies pay their medical expenses. I can fight for compensation that they need to rebuild their lives.
Helping accident victims makes me feel like I have dedicated my life to a worthy purpose. I could spend my career representing banks or drug manufacturers or insurance companies, but it gives me a feeling of satisfaction to represent ordinary people. I know that I am always on the side of justice when I help an accident victim obtain the compensation they deserve.
Insurance companies are among the most profitable corporations in America. Almost 10 percent of the businesses in the Fortune 500 are insurance companies.
Insurance companies are enormously wealthy. They gain wealth by collecting and investing premiums. The less they pay to accident victims who make insurance claims, the more of that wealth they keep.
Insurance companies have vast resources that they can bring to bear when they oppose the payment of claims. I am just one lawyer in one law firm. Every day I battle insurance giants in a mismatch of power.
I enjoy taking on Goliath. I relish the challenge. I love to beat insurance companies in court. I enjoy it even more because I know it is the right thing to do.
I know people who can take a car engine apart and put it back together blindfolded. Some people can throw a 90 mph fastball. Some farmers have a magical ability to work the land and grow abundant crops. I can’t do any of those things.
I like to do what I do best. I have a talent for persuasion. I know how to make juries see my clients as I see them — as human beings who are suffering because another person or corporation behaved carelessly. I know how to persuade insurance adjusters to settle claims on reasonable terms. When insurance adjusters refuse to be reasonable, I know how to use the tools of my trade: diligent research, skilled cross-examination, and impassioned argument. I have learned how to make experts explain complex subjects in simple terms that average jurors can understand. I have also learned how to expose lies told by people who deny that their negligence caused my client’s injury.
From the standpoint of a lawyer, personal injury trials are exciting. They require hundreds of hours of preparation and planning, but nothing else is quite as electrifying as courtroom drama. I love trying cases. I love thinking on my feet and looking jurors in the eye as I ask them to do the right thing for my clients.
At the same time, I understand that trials are stressful events for my clients. They rarely share my love of the courtroom. That is one reason I settle cases whenever they can be settled to my client’s satisfaction. When a case cannot settle, I know how important it is to spend as much time as it takes to prepare my client to testify. I never want my client to be surprised by a question I ask or that the insurance defense lawyer asks. I work hard to win, but I also work hard to make the trial experience as comfortable as possible for my clients.
In short, being a personal injury lawyer is exactly the right career for me. Even if I could throw a 90 mph fastball, I can’t imagine doing anything with my life other than representing injury victims.
Attorney Tim Ryan, author of "The Personal Injury Victim's Bible", has assisted thousands of injury victims, obtaining more than $1 billion for his clients collectively since 1981.
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