I get it all the time: “I’m not THAT kind of person. I’m not the suing type”. They fidget nervously, from their chair on the other side of my desk, afraid I will think they are “that kind of person” for coming to see me. I think silently, “What must you think of me, who makes a living out of being ‘that kind of person?'”
But I don’t say that, of course. I show compassion. No one wants to be in their position. Here they are, forced by circumstances to become “that kind of person”. Embarrassed by it, really. I tell them what they are feeling is very common. No one wants to sue anyone. No one wants to claim money for an injury. Money won’t make the pain go away. But they need to think about the future, about their lost income, about their medical costs, and of course about their pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that may last forever. And they shake their head in agreement knowingly, relieved that I am not going to judge them to be “that kind of person”.
So what makes them overcome their embarrassment and come to see me? Their life has suddenly changed for the worse because someone was careless. Maybe they got hit by a drunk driver that didn’t stop at the stop sign. Maybe they slipped and fell on an icy walkway that no one bothered salting. Maybe they were injured on a construction job where the safety rules weren’t being enforced, causing them to fall from a ladder or scaffold. Whatever it was, they are hurt, it wasn’t their fault, and after mulling it over for a few days, after seeing how their life has changed, perhaps forever, and how unfair that is, and after feeling the rage, the injustice of it all —- they call. They set up the appointment. They come in. They sign the retainer.
And so we are on our way to getting them a measure of justice.