Everyone has aches and pains now and then. We all experience difficult times emotionally as we live through life’s ups and downs. As we age, well, our physical aches and pains become more purposeful and pronounced. Sorrow and regret sinks deeper and seems more poignant. But these are human conditions that we cannot escape. We accept them because they are normal.
Some of us are not so lucky to age naturally. And not so normal. We experience abnormal injury or disease. Cancer at a young age, for example, or a severe and debilitating injury. As a Plaintiff’s personal injury trial lawyer it is my job and a proud purpose to seek justice for individuals and their families suffering from serious and disabling injuries. Protecting their legal rights and helping them get their lives back on the right track is a noble purpose in my book.
But sometimes, while upon our noble quest, I think we lawyers sometimes forget the pain and suffering our clients are experiencing on a daily basis after a serious injury accident. We are so intent upon settling the score. Righting the wrong and fighting for justice. Forced to reduce everything to legal arguments and dollars and cents. We have our nose buried in the proverbial (law) book or hunched over, pecking at the not so proverbial calculator, futilely trying to put a dollar value on our client’s pain and suffering.
What about our clients? Consider the hard working husband and father sitting at home on a work day. Big calloused hands grasping at nothing, so much pain that he cannot get off the couch. Wondering how he will feed his family if his lawyer fails him; or the mother who buries a dead son taken by a foolish and drunk driver and carries the agonizing and senseless weight of it forever; or a daughter, the baby in the family, broken and paralyzed by a preventable, medical mistake. She is saddled with chronic and unrelenting pain for the rest of her life.
Inescapable physical pain and mental anguish: Our clients live with it and we try in vain to quantify it. To understand their suffering better and be a better lawyer for it, put aside your pen and paper more often and simply call up your client and ask them how they are feeling. And really listen.