Aaron R. Davis
I don’t know who to blame exactly, but you raised my insurance rates. Yes, you. With your frivolous lawsuits and insanely high settlements.
I call up my insurance agent to ask why my rates are so high, and she gives me this spiel about million dollar judgments and protecting themselves. And as much as I just have a natural hatred towards insurance corporations, I also have a natural hatred towards greedheads who think working is a sucker’s game and running a legal con with a TV lawyer whose payment is based on how high he can ratchet up your award is a perfectly natural reaction to slipping and bruising yourself.
We’ve all stayed home from work and seen the daytime TV commercials for lawyers who are suggesting, cajoling, begging and flat out demanding that you contact them and get involved in a lawsuit against everyone who not only wronged you, but even happened to be in the room when you were wronged. Now, I see some of their points — yeah, you deserve your fair insurance payments and disability checks and visitation rights and to sue a greedy drug company who put an untested drug on the market which killed someone you loved. I’m with you right there, chief. But some of the suggestions these people make are downright chilling.
Oh, your poor baby came out mentally retarded? Who needs to know anything about genetics or biology when you can just sue a doctor, a nurse, a hospital and make it that much more expensive for medical professionals to do their jobs. Did an EMT accidentally knock your shoulder out of your socket when he was desperately trying to drag you out of that flaming car? Why take that into account when you can sue a business for daring not to lay someone who has been in a horrific accident on a comfy couch and hand him scones while trying to make sure he doesn’t die?
It’s getting to the point where I think lawyers are going to start suggesting people who use calculators start lawsuits against schools for not teaching math well enough.
So, a large portion of the populace has their frivolous lawsuit money, and their getting their payouts, annuities, structured settlements, etc. And the lawyers have their fees, but is that really enough for lawyers to dine out on? I mean, they did your case pro bono, and they got part of your settlement, but let’s be honest, don’t they deserve more? Especially with the legal system cracking down on these million dollar settlements. What’s a TV lawyer to do now?
Apparently, the answer is to get a larger portion of that sweet settlement money.
Hey, do you have a long-term payment? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have it all at once instead of waiting for those checks to arrive every month? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could fix all of your short term problems by getting a lump sum instead? Why not call the same lawyer who got you the judgment in the first place and told you the long-term payout was the way to go because you’d end up with more money in the long run, and instead ask for the immediate lump sum payment he probably advised you against in the first place? It’s win-win! You get something like 40 percent of the money you would’ve gotten, but you get it now! And your lawyer gets something like, I’m guessing, 60 percent of that money! So know you’re going to end up with far less money than you won in court, but that’s okay, because … well, I’m not sure why it’s okay, but screw you, pal, the lawyers win again!
I bring this up because, ingesting the amount of daytime television that I do, I’m getting really fed up with one particular firm that is just out there badgering you to let them take your money this way, by appealing to your immediate, imagined needs — like fixing a household item or a car accident or giving birth to quadruplets. Hey, they argue, you’re entitled to this money, so why not get it immediately? (Omitting, of course, the fact that you’re going to get less money this way, because that might cause you to think twice.)
The thing about this firm that should make you think twice is, honestly, the sophistication of their idiotic commercials.
I remember way back when these guys were just doing the talking head commercials. Some guy in a legal office telling you, hey, I’m your friend, and you deserve your money, so leave everything to me and I’ll stop these corporations from jerking you around by paying you off in a timely, legally-defined fashion. Who do these assholes think they are?
Then they started to do bigger, but still low-tech jobs, with people screaming out to the world “It’s my money, and I need it NOW!!!!!!” Which frankly could be on the flag of this country, couldn’t it?
But then it got bigger. An opera about how people need cash NOW. It all took place on a stage — no exterior shots — but then this thing started getting bigger and bigger. Now their newest commercial of people who can’t sing looks like something it took weeks to make, with lots of editing tricks and even some computer animation (because for some reason idiots love it when babies talk on commercials — if you are one of those people, please stop reading my columns).
In just the space of three or so years, this firm has taken their commercials from small and cheap to big and expensive. It leads me to believe that they must be raking in the dough by convincing you that it’s better for you to take less money (and give them more by working out the details for you in exchange for your lump sum). They must just be pulling in truckloads of the dough you, um, “earned” by slipping on a patch of ice and attempting to bankrupt the company that looked at the sidewalk.
How much of your money do you suppose they take for doing you this favor? Is 60 percent a fair estimate on my part, or is it more? Is it that so many people engaged in sport legal action over the past 10 or so years that everyone in Chicago has a structured settlement that needs to be converted into new water heater money?
All I know for sure is, my insurance rates go up and there’s some fake opera Viking gloating about it on TV through song, and I ain’t happy about it. No sir-ee.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.