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?