Personal injury claims have become big business, ever since McDonald’s was sued for serving coffee that was deemed too hot. Since then an outcropping of personal injury lawyers has sprung up all over the world. The pot of gold at the end of this rainbow has become a focus for many small and large law firms alike.
Personal injuries can now take many forms and the industry has gotten so large that many attorneys are specializing in specific body parts, locations and other slices of this fast-growing revenue pie. There are also mental distress, brain damage and stress-related injuries that are covered by specialists. Two of the most publicized areas of this segment of law are in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
How ethical and regulated are these segments of the legal industry? The standard message is everywhere: “If you were hurt in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call now. We can get you money.” Have the television ads that encourage claims gone too far?
Personal injury law is global. HG.org Global Legal Resources lists over 26 categories of personal injuries ranging from defamation, animal bites and construction accidents all the way to nursing home abuse. With a world full of human error, it is apparent the legal profession has no intention of diminishing these types of lawsuits.
In fact, the list is growing. Is the “no-win, no-pay” personal injury law firm practice so enticing that it brings out the smallest of issues in the hopes of winning the big spin?
In some countries, there is another layer of concern: jurisdiction of boundaries. Consider the size of most European countries and that population’s frequency in travel.
The Pan European Organization of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) was founded to improve and promote judicial cooperation of European jurisdictions in regards to personal injury law. A need was recognized when it was noticed that much of personal injury litigation in those countries required international viewpoints because of the quantity of cases that extended beyond each country’s borders.
Australia’s Henry Carus, founder of Henry Carus & Associates in Melbourne, states, “In Australia, personal injury also covers the gamut. Although we have many cases in the automobile and healthcare areas, our firm stays far away from the ambulance chasers. We stand by our ethical practices.”
There are professional personal injury law firms and there are firms practicing law whose priority is winning another high stakes case. It’s anyone’s guess how far this will go, but in the meantime, if you own or work for a law firm and want to practice personal injury law, consider the sage advice of Henry Carus, “Whether you are in personal injury, labor law or family practice, hang your ethics out like a flag of honor. The right clients will find you.”