What Good Are Ambulance Chasers Anyway?

There are a lot of schmarmy looking lawyers on TV. You know who I am talking about. They smile winsomely at the camera, their salt and pepper hair clipped short, assertively proclaiming that you are being denied your rights.

“If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident…”

“If you’ve been denied disability from the government…”

“If you died taking a harmful medication…”

They are the ones to talk to. No fees unless they win the case! Then they turn serious and cross their arms…the defenders of justice, the righters of wrongs, must always cross their arms if it is a TV commercial or a billboard. I suppose they’d do it on the radio if you could see. Because they are trustworthy.

Except they don’t seem very trustworthy. They seem…well, schmarmy. Who calls those toll free numbers anyway? You know plenty of people who were denied disability for a perfectly good reason call that number. How many of those success stories can be believed? The thousands of dollars pouring into the innocent victims’ pockets…it just strikes a weird cord. And there are so many commercials! What good do they do? No wonder lawyers get a bad rap!

Despite their annoyingness, cheesiness, and possibly even downright creepiness, there is another element to these commercials. I don’t know if the stories are real, or relevant, or a waste of time. They do, however, play an important role in promoting our democracy. Our government was created on the basis of a Western legal tradition. It was not something that developed over night. It took the combined efforts of precedence and identification to cultivate and sustain the freedom we take for granted today.

To adequately reap the benefits of our legal system, freedom must be maintained. To maintain freedom, there must be a legal field of right and wrong…laws. Politics becomes important as those laws develop but that is a post for another day. What I want you to grasp is the balance that must be upheld for our society to flourish. There must be law to keep order, but there must also be a way to keep order from getting out of hand and squashing freedom.

Those lawyers on TV represent part of the way our society does that. Sometimes, you are unfairly denied disability from the government. Sometimes, you die from taking harmful medication. There are innocent victims out there. There are also a lot of crooks, cheats, and leaches that take advantage of the system. It offends the sensibilities that the two get mixed together. However, both must be defended because to remove that right is to remove our freedom. Democracy may not be the neatest system. People fall through the cracks or take advantage of the system. They must have their say in court anyway. To ignore it is to become a despotic state, unable to help anyone. Why do we need defense lawyers? Because even the guilty must get justice. Why do we need ambulance chasers? Because in the end, fraudulently or innocently, our system must continue to maintain freedoms and precedence and part of that is having a system in place to fairly keep order.

I don’t expect you to change your mind about lawyers, or bad commercials, or the supposed benefits being denied. I don’t really like them much myself. I do hope, however, that the next time a commercial comes on telling you that there are no fees until the case is won!…that you will pause and think. There is something bigger at work. As humans we are fallen, dishonest, and sometimes schmarmy creatures. Time and generations have tackled the problem, though, case by case, year by year, and we have a system that stands through it. We have courts and we have freedom. Our system is not perfect, but we are guaranteed much of what we take for granted because of it.


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