Empathy

It’s one of our core values.

Empathy – caring, listening and understanding

  • We do our best to always listen to, care for and understand our clients.
  • Our goal is to provide outstanding service.
  • We limit the number of cases we take so that we can provide high quality service.

But what does the word really mean? And why would you want it as a quality in your personal injury lawyer? Aren’t you supposed to want to be represented by this guy – a tenacious though slobbery bulldog playing tug of war? While the persistence and determination of grit is another of our firm’s core values, we believe there’s something to be said for being able to tap into client’s experiences and really listen. Because it is emotion, typically a stronger force than reason, that will move a jury to side in our favor.

It’s an interesting concept, empathy. The simple definition, according to Merriam Webster is “the ability to share someone else's feelings”. Digging a little deeper and we get something a little more abstract: “the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it.” It’s like when someone says, “I feel your pain,” because they can imagine and feel into that state of pain that someone shares, and know that someone can be infused, or filled, with it. Empathy is what jury members feel when they really get how much someone has suffered. Knowing this is how we win at trial. A little like method acting, we can all tap into a time when we suffered from our own unique and personal experience, and through that medium, understand how someone else’s similar experience feels. This is basic human stuff. It’s the energy on which society thrives; without the human quality of empathy, it’s not hard to imagine how bad things can get.

Certainly when someone comes in to see a personal injury lawyer it’s because they feel the insurance company hasn’t given them a fair shake, and the pain of the injuries, the stress of healing, are simply too much. We get that. Every one of us here at Bill Coats Law enjoys helping injured people deal with the insurance companies and get clear of the red tape and runaround to have a full settlement or verdict.

Here in Bellingham, we are lucky to have a fairly empathetic culture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched traffic stop for a jaywalker or a bicyclist, even though the walker or rider was patiently waiting for a break in the flow of cars. In bigger cities, traffic blows past people willing to take the chance to not be surrounded by the false security of a motor vehicle. We see more in our clients than a chance to get a case wrapped up and paid – we see people in pain wanting to recover financially so they can focus on getting better. It’s this empathy that brought us into this career, and it’s empathy that moves big corporations to act human. We get that.

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