I recently came across a PR Newswire release that left me wondering. In the release was a picture of a lawyer over a heading that read:
“XXXXXX (the lawyer, not the victim) Wins $3,375,000+ Verdict In LA County Motorcycle Accident Case”.
The release’s first paragraph started with…
“XXXXXXXXX Law Firm is thrilled to announce that a Los Angeles County jury has awarded client XXXXXXX a $3,375,000+ verdict. With the addition of $1,000,000 in costs and interest, the final amount recovered will total over $4,375,000.”
While large jury settlements are quite common, it was the text of the first paragraph of the press release that caught my attention. To say that the firm was “thrilled” to announce a large verdict seemed ridiculously boisterous and self-serving. It seemed to center on the amount recovered, less than the facts of the case.
But, why did this press release catch my attention? Well, the plaintiff in this lawsuit was a motorcyclist. According to the release, a vehicle crossed the double yellow lines and came into contact with a motorcycle operated by the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered serious fractures to his tibia and fibula as well as an Achilles injury.
Clearly, people deserve to be fairly compensated for the injuries they receive through the negligence of others. But does a law firm publishing a press release saying they are “thrilled” to have recovered $4.375M an appropriate means to present the news that someone got justice and what a jury said they deserved?
Does making the amount recovered the number one priority seem disingenuous to the person that suffered the injuries? One could argue that the law firm is merely advertising its services using awarded amounts to entice people to use their law firm.
These types of “press releases” really do bother me. We are often bombarded with legal advertisements on TV, billboards, magazines and social media on a daily basis. It seems that most of these advertisements concentrate on the amount recovered, not the skillsets of the lawyer or law firms.
Such “press releases” appear to appeal to the peoples’ greed and that makes me sad. As motorcyclists, we are at higher risk than our car driving counterparts. If someone is negligent, we deserve to be fairly compensated. But is appealing to greed a good way to protect our rights?
Do these types of press releases help protect the rights of motorcyclists? Or, are they little more than thinly veiled attempts at advertising?
What do you think of these kinds of “press releases”? Are they appropriate? If not, what do think would be? Let us know in the comments below.