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My purpose as a lawyer

New Year’s Day reflections

Steve Gursten Larry Gursten Michigan Auto Law

The New Year is here, and I’ve been reading more and more that people should have a purpose. Well, I have mine.

Race to the top, not the bottom

I am proud of my law firm and the excellent professionals who work here. In a profession where so many Michigan personal injury lawyers are racing toward the bottom, we have maintained our professional reputation and we have steered clear of so many of the temptations that have so damaged the legal profession today. I often write about the epidemic of fraud and lawyers who are sacrificing their fiduciary duties to their own clients to maximize legal recovery on medical bills, because the attorney can make a bigger attorney fee on the PIP case by taking one-third to 50% of the medical bills then they can helping their own clients in the automobile case.

I’m proud that at a time when attorney solicitation and ambulance chasing is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, our law firm has steered clear of all of it. Almost all our cases come from referrals from other attorneys, the people who read the pages of this legal blog, and most of all, from happy clients.

Our state has a difficult automobile negligence threshold law. Even so, last year our referrals from former happy clients and people we have helped reached over 30% of our active cases. In a threshold state like Michigan, where you cannot take every case because of our more difficult auto laws, that is extraordinary. It is also way above the industry average.

It is a testament to the people that work here, the communication and caring that goes on. And most of all, it is an affirmation of my guiding philosophy as an injury attorney: That you can do very well by doing good to the people you help.

Change an industry

As an injury lawyer for two decades, I don’t just litigate auto cases. I also use my trucking litigation experience – which includes more than 300 truck injury and wrongful death cases, and some record verdicts and settlements in Michigan and nationally – to take on an industry and to help make our roads safer for us all.

In a recent blog post, I discussed the reason behind my $34 million settlement for a truck accident victim in Ohio.

It’s really not about the money. It’s about changing an unsafe trucking industry that tries to sweep dangerous acts under the rug so it can keep on with business as usual. Well, that should scare the hell out of everyone. I couldn’t think of anything better that would interest public policy for the people of the state, then our courts allowing dangerous trucking companies to hide bad acts and then paint some insurance money to the people they injured and killed. I want to prevent truck accidents and save lives.

Trucking companies need to know that when they cut corners on important safety rules, there are attorneys like me out there that will hold them fully accountable – by finding every safety and rule violation and making them pay. If dangerous truck companies don’t want to follow the safety laws that are instituted to protect us all, hitting them in their pocket books will reinforce the importance of doing so. It also protects good truckers and good trucking companies out there, who are at a major economic disadvantage to the bad companies cut corners on safety. After all, safety is always an added cost.

As 2015 begins, I’m honored that the attorneys and legal professionals that work here protect people. We make real differences in people’s lives. I will continue to serve my clients to the very best of my ability.

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