Half of a century ago, misfortune was an accepted part of life. Even when a business negligently mistreated, injured, or killed its customers and employees, the victims who took legal action were often seen as greedy or aggressive. Most people also believed the “little guy” had no chance against big, powerful corporations with seemingly endless bankrolls – they were better off coming to a quiet, informal resolution out-of-court.
Today, tort law empowers consumers to exercise their rights to protect their own health and safety. Legal action against wrongful or negligent business conduct is now expected – and this has changed the way many companies operate. By fostering stricter regulations and instigating the creation of new laws, reckless companies now have to comply in order to survive. Such regulations have made the world safer than it used to be.
This doesn’t change the fact that personal injury lawyers often face the stigma plaintiffs once did. Pew Research shows only 18 percent of Americans believe lawyers contribute positively to society. It’s time to reevaluate their roles and their significance in the justice systems around the world.
Giving Lawyers the Recognition They Deserve
Celebrated on the second Tuesday of April, International Be Kind to Lawyers Day is simply a day to let all lawyers know that people recognize the important contributions they are making to societies all around the world.
The idea is to highlight “how lawyers make the world a better place” by, for example, donating their time for the public good and sticking up for the little guy against powerful corporations. There are many ways to celebrate the lawyers in your life. If you work with lawyers or hired one to represent you, a simple thank you note or lunch date will let them know how much you appreciate their tireless efforts.
Perhaps you’re a lawyer yourself, in which case you might take a moment to reflect on your journey and all the challenges and rewards the legal field can bring.
If you don’t know a lawyer, you can still take some time to learn a little about what they do; maybe this will help to clarify some common misconceptions. Unknown to many, their work means much more than simply winning cases.
1 Step Forward with Tort Rewards, 2 Steps Back with Reform
Over the years, as consumers have become more informed about their choices, dangerous business practices have been reigned in, made safer, or abandoned altogether. Unfortunately, all kinds of new dangerous activities have taken their place.
For example, hospitals that have developed strict patient-safety policies still allow careless mistakes to slip through the cracks, and improvements in workplace safety protocols haven’t stopped companies from exposing their employees to deadly hazards.
Consumer protection laws and regulations have been updated accordingly, but some, unknown to many consumers, do more harm than good. Referred to as “tort reform,” these laws are designed to discourage claimants from seeking justice in growing areas of litigation, such as medical malpractice and asbestos-related injury. Some of these reforms are shamelessly disguised as victim protections when it’s clear they only protect defendants – often the large corporations that have knowingly put peoples’ lives at risk.
Trial lawyers work hard to block these devious attempts to roll back victims’ rights. More than that, lawyers have a responsibility to steer people away from confusing “protections” that only limit their access to the justice they deserve. Be Kind to Lawyers Day is the day to thank lawyers for supporting the public through this storm – and crucially, in ways pro-business legislators are too money-driven to recognize.