The Emotional Side Of Practicing Law: Personal Injury Clients
It certainly is no secret that being a defendant in a lawsuit is extraordinarily stressful. However, it is not so clearly perceived that being a plaintiff, especially in a lawsuit involving a personal injury, is equally unnerving and emotionally taxing, even for those with the most justified claims. While it may not be every case, personal injury attorneys must be conscious that they will be representing clients who are the victims and suffer the consequences of tragic, unexpected events.
Every person is wound a little different from the next. It is difficult to predict how someone physically and emotionally reacts to a serious, unanticipated accident. The phrases “critogenesis” and “litigation response syndrome” have been used to describe emotional and psychological injuries caused by being a party to a lawsuit. Past history indicates that litigation may even delay the healing process. Instead of moving forward after an accident, some personal injury plaintiffs are incapable until the lawsuit is resolved and there is absolute finality.
Common symptoms of parties engaging in litigation include depression, anxiety, stress, tension, irritability, low self-esteem, insomnia, detachment, loss of motivation, and even an excessive obsession with the case’s outcome. These all combine to diminish that litigating party’s current quality of life. And then there is the immense burden of having to worry about recovering damages in a lawsuit just after having suffered physical and emotional injuries, perhaps severe and long-term.
Thus, attorneys must do more than shake hands and nod their heads at their clients. A successful attorney-client relationship requires communication, trust, and mutual respect. Plaintiffs generally do not anticipate the level of emotional and psychological stress that litigation may cause them to experience. They often ask why they are the party overcome with stress when their personal injury claim is justified and not frivolous.
Parties involved in a catastrophic accident are likely still trying to heal emotionally, psychologically, and even physically at the time they hire legal counsel and move forward to file a civil lawsuit. As the lawsuit unfolds and progresses, other feelings and emotions are likely to manifest based on reliving the incident during the discovery phase of the litigation.
And then there is the trial itself and its’ adversarial nature punctuated by the efforts of opposing counsel that are aggressive and even hostile. Clients react to these circumstances in many ways. Attorneys must constantly anticipate and effectively react to the emotions, feelings, and behaviors of clients over the course of a civil action sympathetically, patiently, and genuinely.
Attorneys can help those who are victims of tragedy. They can help accident victims fighting for the just compensation they deserve. The California Desert Trial Academy trains, educates, and develops students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.