Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday evening was unequivocally terrific. It was emotional, heartfelt, and real — characteristics that all too often seem feigned or fake in today’s speeches from our lawmakers. In her speech she praised her husband for governing this country with an eye open for those who are in the same situation as he once was: poor, downtrodden, and shaken by economic turmoil. She praised him for creating jobs, and creating healthcare reform to ensure that those who once had no healthcare insurance will now have it. She made specific reference to keeping open the door of opportunity for others after someone has had the chance to walk through it.
Clearly, Ms. Obama was not able to detail every change implemented by the Obama administration, but of notable omission was any mention of those who had opportunities to live and dream taken from them. Not those who never had an opportunity, or the global middle class who has now suffered for years as a result of the financial crisis, but those individuals who had their opportunities taken from them through no fault of their own. That’s why I do what I do. It’s one thing when America as a whole fails and entire classes of people don’t have their chance to come to the plate. It’s another game entirely when an individual or small business has every opportunity to exist and succeed, and then has that right taken away from them.
I see it every day.
Fraud, breach of contract, car accidents, pedestrian accidents. I see people injured in ways that are so unjust and so unfair, that it’s nearly impossible to not become emotionally attached to the plight of these individuals. That’s why I do what I do. As a doctor, I saw these same unfortunate souls, but in the back of my mind, I always thought that at least most of the time, in medicine, that was just god’s way of saying that “it was that person’s time.” But in the practice of law, its entirely different. I deal with those whose accidents didn’t have to happen. Whose business didn’t have to fail. Who didn’t have to have their house foreclosed upon. Except for the conduct of those who were not careful enough to pay attention, or worse yet, who intentionally set out to destroy the opportunity of another person who did nothing wrong except be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And yet, no one outside of the plaintiff’s attorneys, who wage warfare in the trenches day after day, has done anything to stand up and protect these individuals’ rights. No one in the political arena has stood up and said in bold terms, MICRA is unfair. That losing a limb in 2011 is not worth the same unadjusted-for-inflation amount that it was worth in 1975. No one is telling insurance companies to step up to the plate and compensate victims.
Is this the fault of overzealous plaintiff’s attorneys, who have ruined the reputation of the plaintiff’s bar by taking small meritless cases and advocating “jackpot justice”? Or is it the result of the miraculous PR spin job that the insurance companies did with the McDonald’s coffee case and other such meritorious cases? The fact is that insurance companies run this country. All you have to do is look at the financial meltdown we’re still eeking our way out of. Insurance companies don’t value lives, they value shareholders. And until someone in the political arena addresses this issue–the issue of individuals having opportunities taken away from them through no fault of their own–our country will still be lagging painfully behind in our quest for justice for all.
— Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq.