Mel Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York. But somehow he got his first big acting gig (in the movie Mad Max, his break-through role) in Australia in 1978 at age 22. But why was this Peekskill, New York-born US citizen in Australia? Because his parents decided to emigrate there when he was 12 in 1968. But why did his parents decided to emigrate there? Because his father’s New York personal injury lawyer obtained a $145,000 settlement for him for work-related injuries. This gave Mel Gibson’s father the money to move to Australia, where his family was originally from.
If Mel Gibson’s father’s personal injury lawyer had not gotten Mel Gibson’s father a $145,000 settlement, Mel Gibson would never have ended up in Australia, where his acting talent was discovered.
So as you can clearly see, a New York personal injury lawyer (the one who represented Mel Gibson’s father) is responsible for the meteoric rise to stardom of actor Mel Gibson. Thus, every time you watch movies such as Mad Max, Lethal Weapon and Braveheart, you should thank a personal injury attorney!
(I thank my French son-in-law, Fabrice Lesceller, for providing me with the factoid above).
Seriously, though, personal injury attorneys have done a lot more than you think for you. Whenever you hear personal injury lawyers getting “bashed”, some of which is deserved, try to remember all the good they have brought about, too.
What good? I’m going to give you a list. But first, some background: Profit-driven companies always try to minimize costs so as to maximize profits. Cutting corners on safety is a constant temptation for profit-driven companies. The only two things that prevent them from cutting corners on safety are (1) government regulations that punish such actions and (2) lawsuits that makes it more expensive to cut corners than not to.
Number (2) is where personal injury attorneys, and especially product liability lawyers, live. If not for personal injury lawyers, we would all still be driving Ford Pintos, which featured gas tanks prone to exploding. Lawsuits forced Ford to get rid of that model and replace it with safer ones. One key piece of evidence in those suits was a Ford internal memo that said the design flaw could be fixed for only $11 per vehicle. Ford decided to keep that $11 per vehicle profit instead of spending it to save lives! They got sued and changed their tune.
Personal injury lawyers also forced the construction and paint industries to abandon lead paint and asbestos.
They forced the pharmaceutical industry to abandon thalidomide, which was marketed as a morning sickness drug for pregnant women and instead caused horrendous birth defects.
Without personal injury lawsuits paving the way, there would be no seat belts nor airbags in our automobiles. Yes, personal injury lawyers did that, too.
In the old days, tobacco companies used to openly market their deadly products to kids and young adults. Back in 1998, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) put an end to that practice.
In sports, concussions were no big deal until personal injuries made them so. Class action lawsuits filed against the National Football League (NFL) and other smaller outfits began proving, in court, that concussions were not harmless, but rather lead to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is now well known that head injuries cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which in turn causes many neurological impairments. Now your teenage athlete and others are protected from the most serious harm caused by concussions because of safety protocols spurred on by injury lawsuits.
At this point, I hear the skeptics saying, “but what have you done for me lately, personal injury lawyers?”
A lot. Even in common slip-and-fall cases, lawyers are constantly making the world safer. Businesses know they need to make their premises safe, that they need to plow and salt their parking lots and walkways, and clean up indoor spills, lest they cause an injury and get sued for it.
Here’s another example: Our businesses (including our restaurants, malls, and other places where people tend to crowd together) are just now starting to reopen in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. Personal injury lawyers are already gearing up to make sure that businesses follow safe practices so as not to magnify the spread of the coronavirus. I blogged a few weeks ago about how, in my opinion, businesses should have a qualified immunity to such suits. In other words, they should be protected from lawsuits as long as they follow governmental guidelines for preventing COVID spread.
Any business in our competitive, profit-driven economy is going to want to take shortcuts on following those guidelines. That’s because safe practices are more expensive than unsafe ones. Being safe is more costly, to the business owner, than not being safe. But their not being safe is more costly to society. Personal injury lawyers shift the cost of their being unsafe back to unsafe businesses. This, in turn, makes us all safer.
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