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The differences in representing small businesses and personal injury victims

Readers that have spent any time skimming our website know that, for the most part, our lawyers and attorneys represent individuals in personal injury litigation or small to mid-sized business in commercial litigation.  The other day, someone asked about the differences in representing each set of clients.  For the most part, there aren’t many differences.  In each, we tend to think that we’re representing the Davids against the Goliath big businesses or insurance companies.  Both sets of clients usually have to rely on contingent fees to be able to pursue the litigation.  And for both sets, the result of the case is often very important for their future. In personal injury litigation, that may mean being able to pay off huge medical bills, recovering lost wages, or finding ways to afford needed medical care.  In business litigation, the survival of our clients’ businesses may lay in our hand.  Admittedly, there are some differences, but on the whole, an attorney or lawyer’s representation of a small business or a personal injury victim are very similar.

The big differences come in the defendants.  Although there are exceptions, most of the defendants in personal injury cases just made a mistake.  A driver may have taken his eyes off the road; a doctor may make a mistake in surgery.  While these actions are negligence and actionable, when it comes down to it, most personal injury cases are mistakes.

That’s not the case with business cases.  Most of our business cases involve conduct that is simply fraudulent and deceiving.  You’d think, as lawyers, we would be used to seeing the worst of people.  But business cases never cease to amaze us in the ways that people are able to be creative to lie, cheat and steal from one another.  Partners steal from other partners; businesses lie to their customers or prospective business relationships; attorneys abuse their fiduciary relationships and steal from their clients.

Now, there are exceptions to each.  There are personal injury defendants that can be viewed as true bad actors: the drunk driver; employers who systematically ignore safety requirements and virtually assure a catastrophic on-the-job injury will occur; the doctor that performs unnecessary surgeries to run up the bills.  And there are innocent defendants in small business litigation.  Sometimes cases involve simple disputes over interpretations of contracts.  But overall, from the attorney and lawyer perspective, the biggest consistent difference between the two types of cases is the egregious and deceitful conduct routinely found in business litigation.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit

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