Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Is PI a dying field?

I feel like tort d/reform, safer cars, backed up court syste physicssezno07/12/18
I watched a CLE on self-driving cars. I think in 30 years th snowday7507/12/18
I do high volume pi and just feel like this stuff is going t physicssezno07/13/18
It'll be a least another 10 years, probably 15, before you s tcpaul07/13/18
I am not so sure. In many states the medical is no-faulted a snowday7507/13/18
I don’t know specifically about PI, but I do feel that civ dupednontraditional07/13/18
I think it's going to be longer than 10 or 15 years . We've flharfh07/13/18
I wouldn’t make a career out of being an associate handlin snowday7507/13/18
Yea it sucks. I just want to do something engaging, respecta physicssezno07/13/18
I don't do PI but I feel like so long as people keep slippin isthisit07/13/18
People will never learn how to drive. Companies will always fettywap07/13/18
It may wax and wane in different areas, but inevitably, a po jd4hire07/13/18
I think his justified concern is that changes in tech and la snowday7507/13/18
Yes. Don’t factor self driving cars into your analysis. trickydick07/13/18
We are already beginning to phase out vehicles with drivers. themapmaster07/13/18
I feel like Med mal will be an important area since it kills physicssezno07/13/18
I wonder if/when we ever get universal health care in the US lazlo07/15/18
Does Cellino & Barnes really get those non-wheelchair bound 3lol07/13/18
Lol c and b. physicssezno07/13/18
Yea they’re paid actors and I’m sure the “offers” ar physicssezno07/14/18
This is a very good question with a very complicated answer ambulancechaser201307/15/18
And that describes PI cases which are worth trying. There a jeffm07/15/18
My spot has a ton of cases across the spectrum, I’m in cou physicssezno07/15/18
I agree with that is stated with this point: 80% of personal ambulancechaser201307/15/18
My sister got into a fender last year while driving on the f byunboy207/16/18
TBH, I’d tell him you take offense to his sexual provocati snowday7507/16/18
You sound like a typical scumbag lawyer who spends all his t trickydick07/19/18
To OP-no, it's not a dying field. There are way too many te toooldtocare07/15/18

physicssezno (Jul 12, 2018 - 10:49 pm)

I feel like tort d/reform, safer cars, backed up court systems, the vanishing jury trial, more and more available Health Insurance, hatred for Lawyers, insane expense of litigation are all contributing to the death of this field.

Is this going to be around in 30 years?

Am I wrong?

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snowday75 (Jul 12, 2018 - 11:05 pm)

I watched a CLE on self-driving cars. I think in 30 years they will be more common. Automobiles will go from self-depreciating asset you own to a service you pay for--into perpetuity. There will inevitably be some mechanism for opening claims against the various auto companies and so on.


But before that the intoxicated driver of a self-driving car that hurts someone will remain liable for some time I imagine.

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physicssezno (Jul 13, 2018 - 12:50 am)

I do high volume pi and just feel like this stuff is going to not be a thing for much longer.

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tcpaul (Jul 13, 2018 - 2:33 am)

It'll be a least another 10 years, probably 15, before you see a significant drop in PI auto cases due to autonomous technology. Think of all the cars being sold right now without it that will still be on the road. Insurance, backed up courts, and the "vanashing" jury trial really don't affect the field at all.

I put vanishing in quotes because I really don't believe in it. Sure less trials happen, but only because so few PI attorneys have the balls these days to try a case.

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snowday75 (Jul 13, 2018 - 4:46 am)

I am not so sure. In many states the medical is no-faulted and the property damage can be approximated well enough that trying that particular issue is unwise. Once you hit policy limits, why WOULD you want a money judgment in excess against the other party when the average Joe has $400.00 in their checking account to collect on?

My state’s offer of judgment provision mimics the federal rule. Any legitimate claim is getting the offer before trial. The spectre of paying the defense’s trial and expert costs really makes a trial less a question of “balls” and more one of pure risk analysis.

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dupednontraditional (Jul 13, 2018 - 6:41 am)

I don’t know specifically about PI, but I do feel that civil trials are vanishing. I guess the argument is based on judicial efficiency and backlogs and various no-fault laws, etc., but I also have this feeling that courts just don’t want to “do” trials because they are, ironically, “too much trouble.” ADR can be great sometimes, but it starts to feel more and more like a forced cop-out rather than a legitimate tool. Maybe crim does consume the lions’ share of the resources, not to knock it.

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flharfh (Jul 13, 2018 - 8:41 am)

I think it's going to be longer than 10 or 15 years . We've seen several self driving car trials cancelled due to accidents, and once the tech works it will take a decade or two to be widely adopted. But I agree that if I was in my 20s or 30s I certainly wouldn't assume I could make a career out of litigating car accidents.

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snowday75 (Jul 13, 2018 - 8:47 am)

I wouldn’t make a career out of being an associate handling ANY high volume law practice. You can get a few years experience but you need to leave that place.

I am in the same position as OP in a different area of law. There is no future you want to have in being a wage-drone Attorney sending template discovery + med statements back and forth.

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physicssezno (Jul 13, 2018 - 9:02 am)

Yea it sucks. I just want to do something engaging, respectable, and stable w some upward mobility and decent people around.

I feel like overnight practice areas can close up, it’s not stable, it’s full of psychos etc

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isthisit (Jul 13, 2018 - 9:18 am)

I don't do PI but I feel like so long as people keep slipping and falling and rear ending each other, PI will always be there.

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fettywap (Jul 13, 2018 - 9:32 am)

People will never learn how to drive. Companies will always make products that kill in order to save a buck. It won't slow down.

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jd4hire (Jul 13, 2018 - 10:01 am)

It may wax and wane in different areas, but inevitably, a portion of humans will suffer some form of personal injury whether it be through a traditional means (slip and fall, med-mal, auto accident) or some one-off crazy instance (getting de-gloved by an elevator, jumping off high objects and paralyzing oneself, etc.). And often, these humans will look to attribute fault to someone else. And there will always be a nice PI attorney (like myself) willing to assist these individuals in the pursuit of justice for a small, reasonable contingent fee.

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snowday75 (Jul 13, 2018 - 10:06 am)

I think his justified concern is that changes in tech and law will make a cottage industry for his employer’s mill far less volume heavy. There are still firms taking mesothelioma cases today, but compared to 1979?

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trickydick (Jul 13, 2018 - 10:28 am)

Yes.

Don’t factor self driving cars into your analysis. It’ll be several decades before they begin to phase out cars with drivers. Anyone who says otherwise is a dumb bastard.

The economics of litigating low value cases (reasonable value between $10k and $50k) don’t work when you’re looking at discovery costs in the range of $10k to $20k on top of other expenses. The only reason Howell credit and similar limitations haven’t killed these cases completely is because of lien based medical treatment. With shared databases utilizing information from hundreds of thousands of claims and trials along with basic discovery requirements, any attorney worth his salt realizes the maximum potential value of his case long before trial...and so does the insurance carrier. Only a fool wastes his time gambling on a jury’s feelings when the most he has to gain are another $5k or $10k when there’s a chance he may get way less than what’s on the table.

That’s why only cases that are reasonably worth six figures are worth actual litigation. The potential recovery is enough to cover costs and expenses and still net a profit. You can cut your teeth on the small fry for practice, but the only future in personal injury litigation are the big cases.

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themapmaster (Jul 13, 2018 - 8:19 pm)

We are already beginning to phase out vehicles with drivers. An example would be currently existing driverless buses that drive signicant numbers of passengers to airports. The beginnning of the phase out of drivers won’t take several decades.

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physicssezno (Jul 13, 2018 - 11:35 am)

I feel like Med mal will be an important area since it kills and injures more than 500k people per year but the restrictions on it will continue, eg lower fees, higher costs and risks, threats of tort deform etc. that’s a problem if u want to make a living.

Cars are safer than the 60s when I think you really needed to improve safety dramatically. And I think property is safer too (less lead paint and Meso, tho the above poster said there’s still asbestos work)

I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop w these arbitration clauses on Med mal, nursing home abuse, and even things like Uber crashes.

Plaintiffs work generally is threatened by legal changes (Eg look how arbitration clauses and limits on fraud lawsuits limited class actions; damage caps etc). And practical social changes like safer cars (not a bad thing for society).

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lazlo (Jul 15, 2018 - 5:46 pm)

I wonder if/when we ever get universal health care in the US, that maybe most med mal will be subsumed under some national workers compensation-type regime. IIRC something like this exists in England, yes? Since it's unlikely this or future Supreme Courts will find it constitutional to force doctors in America to accept single-payer limits on reimbursement, they will need incentives, and one might be having liability transferred to the public realm.

In the admittedly unlikely event that this were to happen, while the massive multimillion dollar payday for an infant surgery gone bad might go away, you might be able to build a volume practice if showing negligence were no longer required, just injuries arising out of care.

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3lol (Jul 13, 2018 - 3:24 pm)

Does Cellino & Barnes really get those non-wheelchair bound people in the commercials with no apparent physical problems $1.4 million settlements?

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physicssezno (Jul 13, 2018 - 5:29 pm)

Lol c and b.

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physicssezno (Jul 14, 2018 - 6:02 pm)

Yea they’re paid actors and I’m sure the “offers” are starting offers early in litigation that don’t reflect real value of the cases.

Again, pi sucks

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ambulancechaser2013 (Jul 15, 2018 - 1:03 pm)

This is a very good question with a very complicated answer that can be summarized with “it depends.”

First, it depends on the macro level you are practicing in: are you in a state with pro-consumer publically elected (legislators and governors) and appointed (judges) officials. If yes, then you are off to a good start because tort reform will not impact your large cases on damage caps except in possibly Med Mal.

Second, do you/can you/will you know how to litigate AND try a case. Mind you, not every case is similar. I’ve tried several cases, criminal ones and a civil one and to say that a rear end MIST (minor impact soft tissue case) is the same as a t-bone by a an 18 wheeler with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) is beyond ludricrous.

Third, do you have what it takes to “go the distance.” Litigation gets expensive in California 50 days before trial when you disclose experts and start deposing the other sides experts. That can cost up to $5,000.00 in a small auto tort case with the deposit on your expert and deposing the other sides orthopedic surgeon or accident reconstructionist. Finally, in this aspect, do you actually know what you are doing to not ask stupid questions at a dr. Depo that is costing you $1,200.00 an hour. And yes, 1 minute over will cost you another $1,200.00.

Fourth, do you have the stamina for this kind of work. I interviewed several years ago with a med mal defense attorney and I made it abundantly clear that I’d walk over broken glass to try cases. He said that’s great because “trial is a young man’s (or woman’s) game.” A year later I tried my first case (criminal, and later I tried a civil one) and I can attest a lawyer in trial works 80 hours a week. It’s not for the faint of heart.

So, is it possible? Yes. So is running a marathon. But it takes a lot of effort.

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jeffm (Jul 15, 2018 - 1:08 pm)

And that describes PI cases which are worth trying. There are many mills which handle the bottom rung of PI, and filing suit is not warranted.

Just contrasting that the concept of "PI practice" still has a lot of ambiguity in it.

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physicssezno (Jul 15, 2018 - 1:16 pm)

My spot has a ton of cases across the spectrum, I’m in court or depositions pretty much daily, and I expect a trial a month. It’s a heavy work load. That said, I find the people irritating and exhausting, it takes forever to get paid, and I’m not sure it’ll be around in 20-30 years so I worry my skills won’t Be valuable at that point.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Jul 15, 2018 - 1:22 pm)

I agree with that is stated with this point: 80% of personal injury claims should not be filed on. 85-95% of personal injury lawsuits should NOT be taken to trial. Not because the one side will lose,but because it will be a pyhric victory for one or both sides.

I was deposing a plaintiff once and took a bathroom break. The plaintiff’s lawyer also went to the bathroom. As we were washing our hands he said: “you know whatever goes on back there (deposition room) doesn’t matter. I won when I signed up the client because this case will settle. It’s all about getting the client”. I said nothing. I was so disgusted because I knew he was so right. The MIST fender benders and accepted liability cases are 98% going to settle. It’s all about signing ‘em up at that level.

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byunboy2 (Jul 16, 2018 - 8:44 pm)

My sister got into a fender last year while driving on the freeway and it was her fault. I thought insurance would take care of everything and thus forgot about it. Apparently the opposing driver hired a PI lawyer and is demanding 50k!!! The lawyer and my insurance has been negotiating for over a year now. Should I be worried? They even went ahead and filed an electronic docket. I'd hate for the sleazy PI lawyer and the driver to get any sort of compensation.

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snowday75 (Jul 16, 2018 - 8:56 pm)

TBH, I’d tell him you take offense to his sexual provocation and get him disbarred.

It sounds insane but this just happened in Wisconsin. Magnate PI lawyer swears to the ends of the earth he never said it but doe-eyed female ID lawyer said he said it in the hall during a Depo.

His career, marriage, and reputation are gone.

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trickydick (Jul 19, 2018 - 10:10 pm)

You sound like a typical scumbag lawyer who spends all his time around scumbag lawyers.

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toooldtocare (Jul 15, 2018 - 4:24 pm)

To OP-no, it's not a dying field. There are way too many terrible drivers on the road, way too many legitimate slip/falls, and then there are way too many illegitimate claims for PI to dry up. Add in the fact that tort reform is a dead issue, as any reforms made have already been made as legislature, let alone Congress, are so paralyzed the idea of any further agreements is a virtual impossibility.

But as the ac points out above, it's all about getting clients. With the ever increasing flood of lawyers, it will get ever more difficult to get them.

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