I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 17. This, in and of itself, does not make me special (roughly 700,000 people in the US share such a diagnosis), but I believe it provides me with some insight into the frustrations people feel when part of their “normal” life is taken away from them. As far as I know, nothing could have been done to prevent my illness, and nobody is to blame.
That is not necessarily true for the clients that come to our firm for a helping hand.
Why did I choose a profession that is the punchline of jokes of comedians from Denny Crane to Saul Goodman? There are a lot of jokes about attorneys being “sharks” and “ambulance chasers”, but I take pride in being able to give those clients a voice when they may otherwise go unheard. And, although it may come across as cloyingly altruistic at first blush, here’s the truth: I want to help people.
I want to help people who are like me– people dealing with chronic, and sometimes debilitating, issues on the inside while living in a world that might be completely clueless – or even doubtful or skeptical – of the obstacles they face on a daily basis. And yet, all the while, simultaneously forging ahead with daily life.
I stand with my clients, so they can stand up to those who caused their injuries, as well as those who deny or belittle their complaints.
Before you roll your eyes and reference the amount of allegedly frivolous lawsuits filed in an apparent increasingly litigious society, I will readily concede that not every lawsuit filed is ultimately found to have merit. Regardless, perception and reality do not always perfectly align, and plaintiffs in a lawsuit are often painted with too broad a brush and characterized as simply looking for an “easy pay day” or a handout.
It is easy to form an opinion without knowing all of the pertinent facts. Even then, it is impossible to truly know another’s pain and suffering without walking a day in their shoes.
Debilitating as it is, back pain is not always readily observable. Headaches do not show up on x-rays, so they are easy for others to dismiss. We all tend to get caught up in our own issues and problems; I’m certainly not immune to this.
However, I have found that empathy, combined with a willingness to try and understand and communicate to another what an injured party is truly dealing with, can go a long way toward melting the icy skepticism accident victims encounter when pursuing their claims. I feel a great deal of joy when I am able to help someone who they initially felt helpless when trying to tackle these obstacles on their own. That is why I do what I do, and I would love to talk with you about it over some coffee. Just give me a call, and we’ll set it up.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find three other attorneys to help me screw in a lightbulb.