my 907 word rant about the state of our legal system with some lactivism on the side

DanO was in a car accident last Friday. Was it Friday? I don’t know. All of the days blend together (stay at home mom says what?). He was stopped at a red light when a (bad) accident occurred in the intersection in front of him and one of the cars in that accident then hit the front of our car. Thankfully, he was absolutely fine and even the car fared pretty well (with the glaring exception of the headlights *bah-dum-ching!*). It drove away from the scene with some persuasion and has been driving reliably ever since.

In the end it seemed like the accident would have little effect on our family. Until Tuesday.

Tuesday of this week our mail slot was stuffed plum full of envelopes addressed to DanO.

What you need to know about auto accident law suits!”

“Suffering from neck and back pain from your recent collision?”

“Minnesota’s best auto accident law firm!”

“You may be entitled to chiropractic services!”

“Don’t let the insurance companies win!”


Did you know that auto collision reports filed by police officers are on public record? By giving his information to the officer at the scene, DanO’s name, address and involvement in an accident is now available to all those who would like to know.

And apparently a lot of people would like to know.

Here’s what really chaps my hide about this whole situation. It’s not the annoyance of the four or five pieces of junk mail we get each day. It’s not even the ridiculous waste of paper and resources that goes into all of those pieces of junk mail. (Although both are lame.)

It’s what they’re advertising.

Riddle me this: When did our country arrive at a place where advertising for people to sue others is not only acceptable, it’s standard practice? And how is it OK for them to go so far as to watch public records (and you know they pay people to do just that) and pounce on unsuspecting prey as it comes along?

Should law firms really be preemptively contacting us? I mean, if we were in a situation where we needed a lawyer, wouldn’t we be able to find one?

Well, you might say, these people are just making sure you find them.

Then they ought to take out ad space where someone would likely look for an accident and injury lawyer, for example online or in the phone book (they still make those, right?). Perhaps a commercial with a phone number jingle so that people think of your firm when they have already decided that they want to pursue legal action.

But targeting citizens in a way that teeters on pressuring them into suing someone? It makes me want to vomit.

When did our courts of law become a commercial industry?

It reminds me of the infant formula companies, in a way. They offer services that are available in instances of need. Adoption? Orphanage? Breastfeeding impossible? You may need to use formula. But does a breastfeeding mother need to be targeted and given formula coupons when she purchases pumping accessories through the self-checkout? Do soon-to-be mothers need to be sent home from hospital pregnancy classes with formula samples and ‘parenting’ magazines provided by formula companies?

No. (Both of those things happened to yours truly.) If they needed formula they would know where to get it. So, formula companies, tout your nutrition claims on catchy packaging that already interested customers will be drawn to, but don’t come after women would otherwise be perfectly well off without ever having heard of you.

And law firms that pin-point and target people with advertising in an attempt to persuade them to sue? Besides “Leave us alone!” and “Stick it where the sun don’t shine!”, I’d like to tell you that what you’re doing is making our country a crummier place. How? Law suit prevalence and pay-out settlements lead to so much waste and bureaucracy that impacts our everyday lives.

The marketing of law suits has made companies and individuals live in fear of being sued and we’re paying for it. Doctors are constantly being sued which makes malpractice insurance rates skyrocket… which makes the cost of care skyrocket… which makes the cost of health insurance skyrocket. Think of all of the red tape and fine print that is created simply for companies and people to avoid being liable in a court of law. I’m not saying we shouldn’t protect ourselves, and I’m also not saying that there no instances in which the court ought to be involved, but Great Gadsby where does this end?

There are many instances when the legal system and lawyers ought to be involved in settling matters. That’s why they exist, and I am so thankful they do exist. Lawyers, judges, and the judicial branch of our government have the power to protect our constitution and the rights given us thereof. It’s an incredibly important discipline, so please don’t interpret this as a vendetta against lawyers. It is absolutely not. It is disgust for the commercialization (and debasing) of an industry that’s true reason for existence is both admirable and necessary.

If only we could stop being so greedy and let them function as they naturally should.

::gets down off of soapbox::


O wow. I think that’s the most opinionated I have ever been in a blog post.

So, let’s hear it. What’s your take on marketing for law suits?

29 Responses to “my 907 word rant about the state of our legal system with some lactivism on the side”

  1. Erin

    I’m with you– it’s annoying and pathetic that public records are law firm leads.

    I was sent formula while pregnant and am constantly bombarded by formula coupons (of course)… and I was firmly planning to bf way before we got pregnant. I was okay with having received the free formula– we stored it in the pantry just in case something happened it was needed, but I still have no idea how it wound up in my mailbox. These companies should realize it’s wasteful and useless to send formula to me. I should probably donate it now because we’ve got a huge freezer stash, and I’m not planning on introducing formula to my almost 7-month-old anytime soon.

  2. The Mom Venture Blog

    True, True, So True! So many are so “sue happy” in this country and it makes me sick! There are times to sue, but if no “real” damage was done, and if something was truly an accident, then, really, there’s no reason to sue unless there was an injury or major damage to property or car and the other person didn’t have insurance. We had a guy run through our front fence with his car at 2am last year. Not a fun sound to wake up to, especially when you’re 8 months pregnant! Anyway, he took out our fence and hit our truck. He didn’t have insurance of course. Now we sent in our stuff for his trial, but we never did hear back to see if we were going to see any money from this. We were able to fix the fence and only had to buy a few new boards, so , not a huge deal. The truck on the other hand has a huge dent in the side, but there’s not much we can do unless we were to sue.

    The problem with suing is that most likely he would not be able to pay it anyway and it would just be a huge hassle for us! We’ve just accepted it, and are moving on. He most likely got jail time anyway because he was drunk and his nice new vehicle was totaled and he still owed money on it! So I think he got the worse end of the deal.

    Sometimes we just need to let things go if possible. “Turn the other cheek” If it’s something that really doesn’t have to be a big deal. God will take care of His children.(And I’m not saying that there isn’t a time to sue,, just wanted to clarify)

    Anyway, sorry for the long reply!

  3. Jenn

    My husband and I are sitting here talking about this, and we completely agree. A friend of ours is a home inspector, and so much of his time is wasted in lawsuits; time he could be inspecting homes…providing for his family. Time wasted, money wasted, and paper wasted so a man who couldn’t afford his house in the first place can avoid foreclosure. Waste was a good point. Great post! (By the way, I’m not minimizing the hardship of people who have suffered a foreclosure…this man just happened to spend outside his means and suffered the consequences.)

  4. Jenn aka @maybeitwasmtown

    The amount of information available to the public is SHOCKING. I work in property tax and all new properties (whether built or bought) are listed in public records. Part of my job is to contact those people and offer them our services. I always feel like an annoyance. It is shocking the amount of people that do not know they can appeal their property taxes. (For the record we don’t make anything if we can’t get them a reduction.)

    This post aka rant reminds me how annoying credit card offers are too. Gah we paid off my husbands when we 1st got married. I swear the next day we had 15 letters saying we were pre-qualified for a credit card. UGH!

  5. Elizabeth

    I was also really frustrated and mad that both my OBGYN’s office and the hospital gave us a few free containers of formula – the obgyn gave it to us before Joshua was even born! it’s like they expected me to fail. and also, whenever i buy anything baby related at the store, i get a free coupon for formula. i guess they’re just trying to be nice, but still… it’s annoying!
    and i am so glad that Dan is ok! i have never been in a car crash, but i can imagine how scary it must be!

  6. RYLEY

    I was REALLY late to this whole AP style of parenting. The only person I had ever talked to about breast feeding was my coworker. She bf for 4 months then switched her daughter to formula. My mom bf me until she went back to work and the doctor told her I was “allergic” to breast milk so he *made* her switch to formula anyway.

    My goal when I got pregnant was to breast feed till 4 months. I was happy with that. At my 1st appointment they gave me that free can of formula and I was SO excited and started stock piling, I love that it came in the mail and OH WOW a $5 a coupon once a week in the mail too? Then more at the hospital and more at my birthing classes. I was excited.

    Looking back I am purely DISGUSTED. Infact, I plan to talk to my OB next time I get pregnant. Its horrible to hand that out and set parents up for failure.

    Here I am now, 17 months later, where my goal is to make it to 24 months!!!

    Oh Society..

  7. annemarie

    I think that it is tied in to the way the court system is portrayed in the media – it’s car-chase stressful/exciting, not lying-awake-at-night stressful/boring. Also, we are convinced (and the media has helped with this too) that we DESERVE compensation when something crappy happens. We are selfish people, so it’s easy to convince us that we deserve the money and the “justice” for accidents. Which completely changes the meaning of “accident.”

    My father was a lawyer for thirty years. This stuff drove him nuts, and he got an awful lot of business for being the ethical lawyer in town.

  8. kim

    Agreed! And Hubby is a lawyer :) Thankfully he doesn’t send out those letters –I wouldn’t be calling him “hubby” if he did!

  9. Becky

    I totally agree especially about formula marketing! Did they even read the WHO code they agreed to which prohibits direct marketing to consumers?! Their corruption is one of the reasons I nurse my daughter–I don’t want to give them one red cent!

  10. Amanda

    While I agree with everything you say 100% (110%), I really don’t think it’s fair to bash formula companies about doing what they do, which is just advertising. And hey, pregnant woman happen to be a really good market for them (lol!) I mean seriously I completely agree with you, I am still nursing my almost 11 month old who has never had formula, but we have to face it, there are millions of women out there who will NEVER give breastfeeding a chance no matter how much they are educated about it. These formula companies are just trying to make money, and getting their product out there is really the best way to do it.

    I mean I REALLY don’t need to use zip-lock baggies or crest white strips, but I have recently gotten free samples of them in the mail as well.

    I do think that the OVER abundance of samples give out it quite silly, especially to those mother who are planning to strictly BF, because even if something happens and those mothers are not able you were right in saying they do know where to purchase it.

    I think maybe a better practice would be to try and get Doctors offices to get in to the practice of educating their pregnant mommy’s first and if after that a mom still chooses to formula feed, then offer her the free samples and coupons!

    Sorry if I stepped on your toes (not my intent, seriously) or anyone else’s (sp??) toes!! Guess I just felt like playing the devil’s advocate today!

  11. Cass

    I’ve never commented before but felt compelled since I am a personal injury paralegal. We get sent leads by a company who collects them from the police department (no one sits and watches the leads, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting car accident victim). Mass mailings are legally required to say “This is a legal advertisement” on the envelope so you can choose to open it or not.

    But anyway, in our area, it is very rare for a case to end in a lawsuit. The three years I’ve been working here, 1 of our cases has gone to trial. People hire a lawyer when they feel like they’re being taken advantage of by the insurance company. If you’re seriously injured and the insurance adjuster says…”You had excessive treatment, too much diagnostic treatment, it’s a pre-existing condition,” and offers to pay only a fraction of your bills when you were injured by someone they “insure?” In my opinion, THAT is disgusting. I do think people DESERVE compensation for their medical bills if someone else caused your injury. Why should you have to bear that burden? What is insurance for?

    Rather than blaming lawyers, blame the insurance companies that try to take advantage of injured people. Why are we required to be insured if that insurance company isn’t going to take on the responsibility? And when you say you’re suing “someone”…you’re suing an insurance company, like Nationwide or State Farm, these huge faceless companies. The actual individual driver is only named in the lawsuit because we are legally unable to name the insurance company in the lawsuit so that juries will be encouraged to award less money to the plaintiff. That person will not have to pay a penny (except for an increase in insurance premiums which would happen regardless of a lawsuit).

    So…I guess I’m trying to say…lawyers are typically involved only when they need to be. We also get a lot of calls from people who’ve never been in an accident and just need advice on how to handle the insurance claim – who to contact, what benefits they have the right to receive – and we give the advice, free of charge, so that they can take care of themselves.

    Yeah, some people are looking at their accident as a pay day, but those are not usually the cases that a lawyer will take. And I’m not saying that being a PI attorney is an invaluable, selfless profession, but I am saying that they’re not as bad or as money-grabbing-lawsuit-happy as you and everyone else seems to think.

    • Claudia

      My question is…if a person sues an “insurance company” and wins, often they are awarded thousands of dollars. Upping one person’s premiums will not make up for that. So doesn’t it affect many more of the clients of said insurance company and not just the driver of the automobile? Just curious….

  12. Savannah

    I can’t believe that this happens! I haven’t heard of this before… but how awful, and annoying!!!! Thanks for sharing! Yuck!!

  13. Mrs.Z

    Ugh, majorly annoying. Now another reason to hope to avoid getting in an accident!

    As far as formula, I hear you completely. I was determined to breastfeed and literally laughed one day at how many formula samples we had before our little guy even got here! I always felt like if I hadn’t been so determined it would have seemed like formula was what I was “supposed” to do. I was lucky to have a very pro bf OB, and got no samples or coupons there. I was also at a very pro bfing hospital, but did end up with a few samples from them in a free diaper bag.

    Turns out at 6 months I needed them, because my supply just totally tanked despite doing everything in the world, and we had to supplement. I was glad it was there when it was really necessary. But you’re right…I didn’t need anyone to tell me where to find it and ended up giving all the samples away anyway because he needed something different!

  14. Nichole

    Two things.

    1. Was that a Hannah Montanna say what joke at the begining of this post?

    2. I was in a wreck last year and I had comapanies CALLING me to have my spine examined. Calling me, as in they had my cell phone number. I was very unhappy.

  15. Sara Joy

    I am not a fan of the personal injury arena, but I see it’s necessity – very clearly explained by Cass, thank you. A few years ago the Supreme Court was asked (repeatedly in different ways) whether lawyers should be held out as different than any other profession and barred from advertising their services.
    I am actually in favor of preserving the dignity of the profession and the purity of the system and barring advertising.
    The Supreme Court disagreed and one of their arguments is that lawyers have a right to make a living too. When you buy a house you get a ton of mail for every homeowner service in the world, these are people trying to make a living. So are lawyers, and to Cass’s point, personal injury is a very difficult field that RARELY results in litigation, and because of tort reform measures in the court system (in MI the steps to trial are numerous and very difficult) by the time they get there you are nearly always dealing with plaintiffs who have a legitimate suit.
    It isn’t attractive, but it’s the truth. Did you know that the woman who sued McDonald’s over the hot coffee had gential scarring her burns were so severe?
    Some times we only hear about the big payouts and don’t realize that things behind the scenes are rarely as seedy as they look on the forefront.
    Do I think lawyers should advertise? Actually, no. But they have a right to make a living, just like everyone else, and making it to court on personal injury claims isn’t quite the easy street most of us might believe.
    Just my two cents. :)

  16. Philip @ RAOP

    So, where do you think all our jokes about ambulance chasers come from. Lawyers (most) are scum and will do just about anything. Sorry you are having to put up with them. On the other hand, if their junk mail comes with a business reply envelope, you could always stuff a Gospel tract in them and mail them back. You could spread the Gospel and support our USPS at the same time. :-)

    • Sarah

      Nothing like a nice, sweeping generalization to brighten my day…your gratuitous “most” doesn’t solve the problem, friend.

    • Elizabeth

      “most” lawyers are not scum. maybe personal injury ones are. i worked for lawyers who were awesome people and my dad is a lawyer and my husband is in law school training to become a lawyer. most lawyers are not scum. just the ambulance chasing ones who are personal injury lawyers tend to be.

  17. Melissa

    I agree with you about the hideousness of the commercialization of accidents. But then again, I also think that it’s awful that in the United States (I’m from Canada), you’re allowed to advertise cigarettes in magazines and medication in commercials. Those, to me, are just as bad as the commercialization of accidents.
    As for formula, maybe the coupons and free samples help to alleviate some of the guilt that some mothers have about an inability to breastfeed.

  18. Adventures In Babywearing

    Much like many things (coughbigPharmacough) – they are advertising it, pushing it because it’s a BUSINESS AND THEY WANTS TO MAKE THE MONEYS AND KEEP YOU COMING BACK FOR MORE SO THEY CAN MAKE MORE MONEYS………………………….

    (Why I am typing/talking that why I don’t know, it just got my point across at the moment.)


  19. aclittle

    I completely agree that it’s annoying to receive these types of advertisement in the mail, but I’m a little confused how the formula issue became such a big discussion on here. However, since it did, I’ll throw in my two cents also :)
    I am the mother of two, both were breastfed, the oldest until he was 14 months, the youngest is 15 months old and we are still breastfeeding. So obviously I am an advocate!
    I saw that a couple people referred to switching from breast to formula as “failing”. I don’t think it’s fair to say that just because you don’t breastfeed you are a failure, or have failed your child in some way. I have lots of friends that only breastfed for a few months, or not at all, and they are some of the best moms I know. I don’t think choosing to breastfeed makes you a better mom (although I do personally think it’s the better option). I think we need to realize there are lots of different reasons that moms choose formula over the breast. It’s a personal decision, and I think it should be respected (and not referred to as failure).
    Again, just my two cents. I am certainly not trying to offend anyone, so I hope it didn’t come across that way!

  20. Sarah

    So an accident happens and a lawyer/ chiro what have you targets you with advertisements and other marketing.
    Do you have to sue? No.
    The personal responsibility is actually in determining what is necessarry for your situation and acting upon that need.
    Every single coupon that comes your way is not something you are mandated to use. Whether this be for legal services or formula, the personal responsibility is not in restraint of martketing but in how a person restrains them selves from purchasing every advertised product.
    So please, let me reiterate by saying it is not about the marketing so much as what an individual choses to do with it. I nursed and offered bottles and that was my decision for my family.
    I was in a bad car accident 5 years ago and I chose not to sue.

    You don’t have to sue any more than you have to feed a baby formula and the world will be no more or less crummy because of either decision.

  21. Dawn S.

    For those of us that are not able to breastfeed, we get the “slap” from the formula companies too, even though we ARE using their products….I love how my already-shot-womanhood gets kicked-when-it’s-down every time I open a can of formula to feed my baby and the FIRST sentence on the can, in BOLD print is “BREASTMILK IS BEST FOR BABIES. CONSULT YOUR CHILD’S PHYSICIAN BEFORE FEEDING THEM THIS FORMULA.” Um, thanks for implying that YOUR OWN PRODUCT is not what is best for my child and therefore needs doctor approval! As if I don’t already feel incomplete!


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