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"I'm not the type of person who sues" - and other misconceptions

Posted by Scott M. Peterson | Feb 09, 2017 | 0 Comments

We meet and talk with many people each week who are suffering or have suffered some injustice, and in the course of those meetings and discussions we've observed some common themes.

"I'm not the type of person who sues".  

This is probably the most common comment that we receive in the course of our work.  Our clients seem to want to reassure us that they're different from the people that you see on tv.  They're not looking for a "handout", but only what's "owed to them."

We understand why some feel this way, but it's not necessary.  

We don't represent people who are "chronic plaintiffs" - in other words we can spot a "sue-happy" individual a mile away and we are quick to send them away towards one of the lawyers they see on a bus.  

The vast majority of our clients have never been involved in the legal system before; in fact in many cases they've never ever interacted with a lawyer (outside of maybe a real estate closing).  Occasionally, a client will have been involved in an unrelated suit or claim in the past, but by no means do we believe that they are a chronic plaintiff.  

But here's a suggestion: don't feel bad or guilty if you are forced to file a legitimate lawsuit because of discrimination, malpractice or some other injustice.  You are not the wrongdoer.  We don't take cases that we do not feel strongly about, so if we accept your case we are at a minimum expressing to you that we believe in your situation.  Defense lawyers will do their job to make you feel like you did something wrong; but remember that this is the way that society resolves disputes.  Compared to the alternatives (violence, nothing) it's a pretty good system.

"It's not about the money"

This is the second most common thing we hear from our clients.  They want to reassure us that they are not in the lawsuit because of money, they want something else. 

This is a noble thought, and one that as a principle we share.  The fact is that if all we cared about was making money, we would be working 70hrs per week for a law firm with 500 lawyers.  

We believe that every case that we take is an opportunity to effect change in some way.  Whether that's a new department policy towards sexual harassment; better investigation of allegations of race discrimination; awareness of a medical diagnosis that was missed so that it does not get missed again; or simply making a bad driver think twice the next time he is texting while driving.  Many times lawsuits are a good way to effect change in some way.

That being said, the civil legal system is set up in a way to compensate victims of injustice by awarding damages in the form of money.  So while it may not be about "the money", in the end that's how you will be compensated if successful, and it's also how change will be effected.  We believe that "hitting them in the pocketbook" is one of the best ways to effect change within a company or organization.  Bringing a situation into the public light is another avenue, and one that is a byproduct of many of our cases that receive coverage in the media. 

We Know Where We Stand.  Do You?

The fact is that you would not be coming to us if you did not feel that you were subjected to some injustice.  Instead of worrying about what people might think if they hear that you have filed a lawsuit, we suggest that you think of your situation in a different way.  When faced with an injustice, people have two options.  They can ignore it, live with it and try to forget it, which will do nothing to ensure that it does not happen to someone else.  Or they can stand up and fight it, and as a byproduct take steps to ensure that what happened to them doesn't happen to someone else.  We know where we stand on this, do you?

If you have a problem that you'd like to discuss please contact us today.  If you'd like an immediate case review please complete our employment, medical or general questionnaire. 

About the Author

Scott M. Peterson

Scott M. Peterson is the founding partner of D'Orazio Peterson, having left a partnership at a large regional law firm to limit his practice and focus on exclusively representing individuals in a small number of employment and serious injury/medical malpractice matters. Scott's favorite part of practicing law is getting in front of a jury and standing up for an individual against a large company or institution.

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