You may think personal injury lawyers are greedy sharks who go around suing people into oblivion to make themselves rich. 

In most cases, this is not true.  On the contrary, the vast majority of personal injury lawyers are honest, empathetic, hardworking people who are eager to help others and contribute to their community.  Ask a true personal injury lawyer, and they will tell you that the best part of their job – the reason they do it – is helping others in need.

In fact, personal injury lawyers make the world better in many ways – more than most people know or give them credit for.  Without personal injury lawyers, the world would be much more dangerous, unjust, and less livable.

How Personal Injury Lawyers Make the World Better

1) Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the only way to get a fair settlement from an insurance company.

Insurance companies are professionals at paying accident victims as little as possible.  If you get injured, the insurance company’s goal is not to reach a fair settlement.  They aim to pay you as little as possible to boost their profits.  The insurance company’s goals directly conflict with yours, and you should not expect them to take pity on you no matter how great your suffering is.

Insurance companies will hire doctors and lawyers with decades of experience to discredit you and say your injuries are not as severe as you say.  They will blame the accident on you and say you caused your injuries.  They will prowl you and your family’s social media for any evidence they can use to say you are exaggerating your injuries or did things to make them worse.  They will use photos of you drinking alcohol or using drugs to make you appear irresponsible to a jury.

When you are hurt in an accident, the insurance companies have a bag of dirty tricks they will use to pay you as little as possible.  The only way to receive anywhere close to the full value of your claim is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.  Insurance companies pay more to the clients of attorneys who have a proven history of winning personal injury trials.  Insurance companies take advantage of people who have no lawyer or an inexperienced lawyer.  Hiring a proven personal injury attorney is the only way to level the playing field when dealing with insurance companies.

2) Contingency fee agreements make top-level attorneys available to people who would otherwise never be able to afford them.

The best lawyers charge hundreds of dollars an hour.  Very few people could afford a high-quality lawyer if they weren’t willing to work on a contingency fee.  Fortunately, most personal injury lawyers take their cases on a contingency fee, which means they only get paid if you win your case.  If you win your case, your attorney receives a percentage of the settlement or judgment.  If you lose, your attorney receives nothing.  Contingency fees are how personal injury lawyers make the law accessible to everyone.

Furthermore, personal injury lawsuits can cost tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in litigation costs.  Litigation costs include expert witness fees, deposition costs, process servers, court filing fees, private investigators, photocopies, mailing expenses, translators, and other costs.  Very few people could afford to bring a lawsuit if they had to pay these costs themselves.  In most cases, the attorney will pay these costs and get reimbursed for them when the case concludes. 

Thus, the personal injury lawyer has ”skin in the game” and may stand to lose thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars if their client loses their case.  You should note, however, that not all client agreements are the same.  Make sure your client agreement is clear about who pays the costs if you lose your case.  Depending on the terms of your client agreement, you may be responsible for some or all of the costs if you lose.  Check your client agreement before you sign it.

3) Personal injury lawyers improve product safety by holding manufacturers responsible for dangerous products.

Product liability lawsuits lead to recalls, design improvements, increased safety testing, and tighter regulation of dangerous products.  The result is safer products for the American public and increased protection against harm. 

There are many examples of personal injury lawyers holding manufacturers accountable for defective products that cause injuries and death.  Product liability lawsuits have caused recalls of dangerous airbags, tires, ignition switches, car seats, and other car parts in the auto industry.  For example, in the 1970s, personal injury lawyers exposed that the Ford Pinto’s gas tank exploded upon impact during rear-end collisions.  The resulting legal action forced Ford to recall and redesign the dangerous vehicles, resulting in higher safety standards in the auto industry.

However, product liability is not limited to the auto industry.  Personal injury lawsuits have helped protect the public from lead paint, asbestos, dangerous children’s products, and drugs with harmful side effects.  Personal injury lawsuits have also improved food safety, hazardous waste management, pharmaceutical labeling, and airplane safety.  Lawsuits like these force big businesses to pay for the harm their profit-making activities cause. 

Litigation changes company and public policy faster than anything else.  Product liability cases hold bad actors accountable, raise public awareness, steer policy changes, and prevent future similar incidents from happening – this ultimately makes for a safer and more just society.  As such, the world is a safer place thanks to personal injury lawyers.

Insurance companies and large corporations are experts at avoiding liability.  They have lawyers with decades of experience who know and exploit the law to avoid responsibility for their actions.  Personal injury lawyers provide a check against these powerful institutions and hold them accountable for their wrongdoing.

4) Personal injury lawyers help support the health care system.

Many people who suffer injuries could not pay their medical bills if they did not have a personal injury lawyer to help them obtain compensation for medical bills, rehab, and other healthcare costs.  When a person is badly injured in an accident, their medical bills can be hundreds of thousands of dollars – this burdens the healthcare industry if people can’t pay their bills.  Personal injury lawyers ensure that the people responsible for the injuries pay for them and that healthcare providers are not stuck with unpaid bills.

Personal injury lawyers also advocate for changes in the healthcare industry to prevent medical malpractice and improve patient safety.  Medical negligence cases target and highlight the need for reforms in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare practices.  Such cases result in better training, increased transparency, and safer practices among healthcare professionals, ultimately leading to better patient care.

Personal injury lawyers also help people access healthcare they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.  Good personal injury lawyers have an extensive network of doctors and healthcare professionals experienced in treating accident-related injuries.  Lawyers can refer clients to trusted physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other specialists who may be willing to work on a lien if no insurance is available.

5) Personal injury lawyers provide financial relief and compensation to victims.

Injuries can devastate personal finances due to medical expenses, missed time from work, lost income potential, lost benefits, missed promotions, and other costs.  Serious injuries can cost millions of dollars in medical bills, rehabilitation, future care, home alterations, and lost wages.  Few people can absorb such costs.  Personal injury lawyers help people recover their losses and reduce financial stress.

Medical debt can crush people financially.  Personal injury attorneys know medical billing procedures, know the law and have negotiating skills they can use to reduce medical bills and liens.  A good lawyer can weed out excessive charges, double billing, and ambiguous fees to make medical bills more reasonable.  Medical providers typically provide a reduced rate to insurance companies.  A good lawyer will ensure you pay the reduced rate the insurance company pays rather than the full cost.

Medical debt and financial strain can have a major negative impact on a person’s mental health.  In addition to physical injuries, the financial strain of an accident causes extreme stress.  It can greatly affect a person’s psychological well-being.  Insurance companies know that injured people are under financial stress and use it as leverage to make lowball offers and settle cases for as little money as possible – this is one of many dirty tricks insurance companies use to cheat accident victims out of fair compensation.

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney brings you much-needed peace of mind in the most difficult circumstances.


A gentleman slipped on a wet floor and suffered a brain injury. He was unable to return to work.

6) Personal injury lawyers provide emotional support in the most difficult times.

In addition to the financial burden, personal injuries are emotionally taxing.  Accident victims may suffer depression, anxiety, and severe emotional distress related to the accident and subsequent litigation.  Without professional guidance, your personal injury case will likely be confusing, stressful, complicated, unfair, and downright miserable.

Personal injury lawyers bring emotional support and guidance to an otherwise unbearable situation.  A good personal injury lawyer will manage all of the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery.  A good lawyer will explain the legal process and educate you every step of the way, providing clear explanations about your options and helping you choose the correct path.  This peace of mind is invaluable and greatly reduces the emotional burden of a personal injury case.

7) Personal injury lawyers create jobs.

Personal injury lawyers typically employ a team of support staff, including junior lawyers, paralegals, clerks, assistants, IT people, web services, and other staff.  Moreover, personal injury lawyers hire ancillary services such as mediators, arbitrators, expert witnesses, investigators, and researchers.

Personal injury lawyers often offer internships and training programs for law students and aspiring lawyers.  These opportunities provide valuable experience and mentorship for people who want to have a career in law.

Furthermore, personal injury cases require court personnel such as judges, clerks, court reporters, interpreters, and bailiffs.  All of these professionals are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the courts.

8) Personal injury lawyers help vulnerable people take on giants like corporations and insurance companies.

Big corporations and insurance companies have millions of dollars at their disposal.  They can afford to hire the best lawyers to crush everyday people who try to challenge them.  Personal injury lawyers give regular people a fighting chance against powerful entities who have done them wrong.  Without personal injury lawyers, ordinary people would have little or no recourse when the profit-making activities of big companies cause harm.

Big corporations and insurance companies are experts at hiding evidence that could expose them to liability when accidents happen.  Personal injury lawyers know how to use the legal system to gather crucial evidence that exposes wrongdoing.  This investigative work is essential to prove negligence against corporations and insurance companies.

Personal injury lawyers make the law accessible to everyone.  Contingency fees make the world’s best personal injury lawyers available to everyday people who would otherwise never be able to afford them.  Personal injury lawyers level the playing field between regular people and big companies.

9) Personal injury lawyers create safer working conditions across all industries.

Workplace discrimination lawsuits have led to stronger anti-discrimination policies, improved reporting mechanisms, and better employee training.  Sexual assault lawsuits force employers to create safe working conditions free from harassmentWhistleblower retaliation lawsuits protect employees’ right to report their employer’s illegal conduct.  Wage and hour lawsuits have led to fair wage laws, work hour limits, mandatory lunch breaks, overtime pay, and other worker protections.  The result is a better and more equitable workplace for everyone.


Two female law enforcement officers suffered serious emotional distress when their supervisor secretly recorded them in the bathroom.

The construction industry has particularly benefitted from the activities of personal injury lawyers.  Construction site litigation has improved safety regulations and training for construction workers.  Construction companies must, by law, prioritize safety and maintain enough liability insurance to cover their employees in case of an accident.  Construction lawsuits highlight cases where flawed practices led to accidents, which results in better policies and a safer workplace.

Trucking is another industry that has benefitted from personal injury attorneys who represent victims of trucking accidents caused by negligence, violation of safety rules, or dangerous practices.  In response to these lawsuits, the trucking industry has adopted tight regulations on hour limits, mandatory breaks, mandatory drug testing, background checks, driver training, and other safety mechanisms to keep truckers and other drivers safe.  Thanks in part to personal injury lawyers, the trucking industry now has higher safety standards, which means fewer accidents and injuries.


A gentleman suffered a serious brain injury in a collision with a tractor-trailer. He was unable to return to work and needs close supervision. In addition to the settlement, the gentleman kept his rights to lifetime medical care through worker’s compensation.

People who work with hazardous materials, such as nuclear waste, also benefit from the activities of personal injury lawyers.  Lawsuits over exposure to radiation and dangerous chemicals have led to tight safety regulations regarding their use and disposal.  These regulations help protect workers and society from the threat of hazardous waste. 

The more dangerous the job is, the more important it is to have tight safety regulations protecting workers.  Personal injury lawsuits are often the trigger that leads to higher safety standards.

10) Personal injury lawyers force landlords and property owners to keep their property safe.

Premises liability lawsuits force landlords to keep rental properties in safe living conditions to avoid injuries to their tenants and other guests.  Landlords must repair dangerous conditions on their property and have a duty to warn about potential hazards. 


A lady was badly scalded while attempting to take a bath at a resort.

Landlords must also ensure their buildings are up to code and, therefore, safe for inhabitants.  Dangerous property conditions include gas leaks, carbon monoxide exposure, unclean water, inadequate security, faulty railing, broken glass, construction defects, broken elevators, poor signage, missing stairs, and many other potential hazards.

Personal injury lawyers are the mechanism that forces landlords to protect the well-being of renters and other people visiting their properties.  Without personal injury lawyers, negligent property owners would have no legal consequences.  Hence, the world would be much more dangerous.

11) Personal injury lawyers force dog owners to prevent their dogs from biting people.

We love our dogs, but owning a dog comes with responsibility.  Thanks to the activities of lawyers, San Diego has pet ownership laws that require dog owners to care for their animals properly.  Such rules include leash laws, proper sanitation, humane care, and vaccination requirements.  Pet laws are important because they protect pets and humans from harm.  Under California law, dog owners are responsible if their dog bites someone.  A personal injury lawyer can help you file a dog bite claim if a dangerous dog attacks you.

12) Personal injury lawyers force the government to provide safe roads and schools and keep government property safe.

The government must keep public spaces and utilities safe – this means the government must keep parks and recreation areas free from hazards.  It also means the government must fix potholes, broken traffic signals, and other dangerous road conditions that could cause an accident.  Furthermore, the government must keep public schools safe for students, teachers, and staff.  The government likewise must ensure proper emergency response by adequately hiring and training firefighters, police officers, and paramedics.  In addition, the government must keep public transportation like trains, trolleys, and buses operating safely.

Government liability lawsuits are the mechanism that forces the government to uphold its duty to keep the public safe.  If someone gets injured due to government negligence, personal injury lawyers help the victim obtain justice.  Such cases force the government to adopt policies and practices that will avoid similar incidents in the future.  The result is a safer and more equitable society.


A gentleman suffered a serious brain injury when a city truck struck his car from behind.

13) Personal injury lawyers create a cleaner environment.

If you’ve ever gone to the beach and found it littered with trash, you know how important it is to keep the environment clean.  San Diego has miles of pristine coastline home to a variety of marine and terrestrial life, including endangered plants and animals.  Personal injury lawyers help protect these natural resources by suing institutions that cause contamination. 

Protecting the environment is about protecting the health and safety of the people, plants, and animals inhabiting it.  Toxic waste harms humans and other life forms in surrounding areas.  Environmental lawsuits are an important check against unscrupulous institutions that contaminate the environment with nuclear waste, dangerous chemicals, metals, and human waste.

Environmental lawsuits have led to tighter regulations on air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, and the use of toxic chemicals like lead and asbestos.  The work of personal injury lawyers has led to environmental protections such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Resource, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The result is a safer environment not only for people but for plant and animal life as well.

14) Personal injury lawyers help prevent elder abuse.

Elder abuse lawsuits help keep the elderly safe from physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.  Personal injury lawyers hold abusers liable for their abhorrent conduct and help prevent future abuse.  Unfortunately, elder abuse is a growing problem worldwide, and personal injury lawyers are on the front lines standing up for elderly victims.

Elder abuse is devastating for victims, who may suffer serious physical health problems and even die prematurely due to abuse.  Elder abuse can also cause serious mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.  Victims of financial abuse may lose their entire life savings and no longer be able to support themselves. 

To make matters worse, elder abuse can be very difficult to detect.  Victims may hide abuse due to shame or fear of revenge.  Victims with disabilities may be unable to communicate the abuse due to dementia, memory loss, or other disability.  Victims of financial abuse may not be aware of the abuse until it is too late.


A real estate agent, who also represented the buyer, defrauded a gentleman out of the full value of his property.

Thus, personal injury lawyers play an essential role in protecting elders.  Personal injury lawyers help remove elders from abusive situations, recover their losses, arrange for them to receive proper care, take legal steps to protect their finances, punish perpetrators, and force policy changes at assisted living facilities to keep residents safe.  Without personal injury lawyers, victims of elder abuse would have little or no recourse for these heinous crimes.

15) Personal injury lawyers improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Personal injury lawyers represent people with disabilities in cases about discrimination and accessibility rights.  Such cases ensure that businesses, public spaces, and transportation are available to people with disabilities. 

Personal injury lawyers have played a key role in developing and enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA requires governments and businesses to provide accessible parking spaces and accessible routes and walkways.  The ADA requires that mobility devices and service dogs be allowed in public areas.  The ADA establishes uniform specifications for curbs, sidewalks, and ramps.  The ADA requires buses, trains, and other public transportation to be accessible to people in wheelchairs.  The ADA requires communication aids for people with vision, hearing, or speech disabilities.  The ADA also requires governments and public businesses to make their websites accessible.

Thus, the ADA protects the rights of disabled people in many important ways.  In addition to the ADA, the California Building Code and San Diego City Administrative Regulations provide local accessibility requirements.  Furthermore, the Air Carrier Access Act ensures airplane access and offers a bill of rights for disabled people – such as the right to be treated with dignity and respect. 

Without these protections, it would be difficult or impossible for many disabled people to carry out daily activities.  Personal injury lawyers are the mechanism that enforces these rules and are often the trigger that changes them.  Personal injury lawyers stand up for disabled people’s civil rights and give them a means of recourse when excluded or discriminated against.  Thanks to personal injury lawyers, disabled people have better access to essential resources.

16) Pro bono work.

Pro bono work is a legal service provided for free or at a discounted rate for people who cannot afford it.  The State Bar of California encourages attorneys to do pro bono work.  The State Bar offers pro bono work programs and waives licensing fees for attorneys who do pro bono work through the Bar’s programs.  Such programs make the law accessible to underprivileged communities.


Every day, society benefits from safety practices that came about due to the work of personal injury lawyers.  We have safer food, cleaner water, better healthcare, safer roads and schools, and a cleaner environment thanks to personal injury lawyers.  Personal injury lawyers make the law accessible to everyone and get justice for ordinary people. 

As technology advances in transportation, medicine, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, and construction, personal injury lawyers will be on the front lines, ensuring that new technology is safely implemented. 

The legal landscape constantly evolves as new technology comes about.  For example, when e-scooters became popular in San Diego in 2018, it became necessary to develop a body of electric scooter laws to ensure their safe use.  Personal injury lawyers played a key role in developing the electric scooter laws and many other laws that keep San Diegans safe every day.

Most people don’t realize how much good personal injury lawyers do for the community.  Don’t let the stereotypes fool you; most successful personal injury lawyers are good people eager to help others.  Personal injury lawyers play a key role in protecting the public from harm.  However, their practice needs public support. 

The entire personal injury practice is under constant, existential threat from corporate lobbyists trying to wipe personal injury lawyers off the map.  For example, they recently attempted to pass laws to impose a contingency fee cap that would have crippled personal injury lawyers’ practice.  Capping the contingency fee would force personal injury lawyers to only take cases that might result in a big award.  Thus, they wouldn’t be able to take on smaller, but worthy cases.  As such, many people would have no means to achieve justice.  It would have been devastating not only for personal injury lawyers but the public as a whole, who would be losing their only means of achieving justice when harmed by someone else.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Takata Recall Spotlight

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Firestone Tire Recall

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – GM Recall Bulletin

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Safety Issues & Recalls – Car Seats

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Resources Related to Investigations and Recalls

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – About Lead-Based Paint

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Asbestos Laws and Regulations

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Children’s Products

U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Vioxx Questions and Answers

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services –

California Water Board – PG&E Hinkley Chromium Cleanup

U.S. Food and Drug Administration – The Story of the Laws Behind the Labels

San Diego County Animal Services – Pet Ownership Laws

California Legislative Information – California Civil Code § 3342

County of San Diego – Parks and Recreation

San Diego County Department of Public Works – Traffic Engineering

San Diego County Unified School District – Report a Concern

County of San Diego – Office of Emergency Services

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services – San Diego NWR Threatened & Endangered Species

U.S. Department of Energy – National Environmental Policy Act

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Summary of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund)

World Health Organization – Abuse of Older People

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – Americans with Disabilities Act

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – Accessible Parking Spaces

U.S. Access Board – Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Standards – Accessible Routes

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – Mobility Devices

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – Service Animals

Code of Federal Regulations – Americans with Disabilities Act, Subpart B – Buses, Vans and Systems

Code of Federal Regulations – Americans with Disabilities Act, Subpart F – Intercity Rail Cars and Systems

Code of Federal Regulations – Americans with Disabilities Act

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – ADA Requirements: Effective Communication

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA

California Division of the State Architect – Access Compliance Reference Materials

City of San Diego – Administrative Regulation for Individuals with Disabilities: City Services

U.S. Department of Transportation – Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights

The State Bar of California – Pro Bono 

The State Bar of California – Pro Bono Opportunities Directory