Non-Monetary Compensation: Preserving the Social Impact

At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we market our firm as one that is committed to getting clients more than just money. The social stereotype of attorneys reeks of a financial motivation and a view that money can solve all problems. Our mission is and always will be to change the lives of our clients for the better by attaining justice and increasing the awareness of safety needs in Texas and throughout the nation.

As personal injury lawyers, it may seem as though the only way to do this is through the recovery of financial compensation. However, legal professionals focusing on personal injury have far more influence than even they may realize sometimes. Our firm seeks to utilize the ability to impact our society through the cases we handle, by compelling financial compensation but also by petitioning for non-monetary compensation as well.

Washington D.C. Personal Injury Attorney Patrick Malone took the chance to examine this at a detailed level in an article entitled "Paying It Forward by Pressing for Safety Changes", which was published in Trial magazine's June 2014 edition. In the article, Malone explores the ethics of non-monetary compensation demands, welcoming the input of other injury attorneys throughout the nation, including our very own Attorney Jason Itkin.

Non-Monetary Activism That Makes an Impact

Personal injury cases involve some form of negligence or wrongdoing. Many, if not all injuries qualifying for a case involve a form of negligence that is by no means isolated. This is true whether the injury was caused by a manufacture defect in a dangerous product or by a distracted truck driver on the highway. As legal professionals, we have the resources to impact the lives of our clients for the better and also to petition for safety measures that could, potentially, reduce the possibility of repeated incidents.

Attorneys throughout the country are practicing the immense influence they could have on the lives of those not yet injured by the negligence that ruined their clients' lives. Examples include:

  • Legislation increasing security for all-night convenience stores after the rape and mugging of a female employee working alone.
  • Installation manual reforms by a manufacturing company concerning ventilation after a little boy was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning sleeping on board one of its boats.
  • Mandatory annual training for nurses to recognize the symptoms of adverse drug reactions after a little girl slowly died of a reaction recovering from surgery.

In these and other cases like them, the direct plaintiffs were awarded the proper compensation. However, their lives were changed for the better by having something far greater than money awarded to them: retribution, and the knowledge that the culprit was compelled to truly realize and attend to its shortfalls.

Recognizing the Real Solutions

Attorney Jason Itkin, of Arnold & Itkin LLP was involved in one example of this kind of change. A mentally disabled client of ours was raped by a driver working for a company that provided transportation for disabled adults. The driver, it was discovered, had been convicted for sexual assault in the past. Attorney Itkin and the team incorporated company reforms into its settlement demands, calling for the implementation of automatic background checks for all employees. The company did agree to the terms of the settlement but only after months of persistent negotiations. Attorney Jason recalls that negotiating the terms of the new safety measures were far more difficult than the demands for monetary compensation.

Refusing Counteractive Compromise

This leads to another troubling fact that plagues the personal injury field. Defendants, especially larger corporations, are more willing to spend on pacifying monetary settlements than admitting the need for change and increasing safety for future individuals. Settlement elements such as non-disclosures, confidentiality, non-disparagement and non-reporting clauses essentially use money to stuff the mouths of plaintiffs into secrecy.

These types of negotiating tactics are completely contradictory to the original and ultimate intent of personal injury law, which is to eliminate negligence and encourage the duty to care. Furthermore, attorneys that know of such safety needs yet sacrifice non-monetary compensatory measures for the sake of a settlement only serve to facilitate the negligent behavior of the defendant and, potentially, the future injury of even more victims.

Changing the World for the Better, One Client at a Time

As a firm that realizes the influence it can directly have on the lives of our clients and indirectly on the lives of many others throughout the nation, Arnold & Itkin LLP approaches cases with a view towards ultimately increasing the quality of life and safety of anyone in contact with the defendant. It is our hope that others in our field would realize the power we have to change the country for the better and to begin utilizing that influence.

If you are searching for a personal injury attorney, don't settle for someone who is only financially motivated. Turn to a team that sincerely cares for safety, responsibility and justice for all. Turn to Arnold & Itkin.

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