Statistics show that fewer lawsuits for car accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability claims are being filed in American courts.
By The Numbers
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has indicated the following statistics:
- In 1993, 10 out of 1,000 Americans filed a lawsuit for a tort
- In 2015, only 2 out of 1,000 Americans filed a lawsuit for a tort
- Less than 5% of all civil court filings are tort lawsuits
- About half of all civil cases are based in contract and are filed by corporations against people for actions such as debt collection and mortgage foreclosure
Big Business Still Wants You To Believe That Lawsuits Are Frivolous
Despite these statistics, insurance companies and large corporations (usually at the behest of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) still claim that frivolous lawsuits are a massive problem to the viability of business.
If frivolous lawsuits are a problem, then why is it that there has been an 80% relative decrease in the number of tort lawsuits filed over the course of 22 years?
While there are some lawsuits that should not have been filed, it is my experience as a Florida personal injury attorney that most claimants are actually reluctant to file a lawsuit and only do so when there are no other alternatives except to settle for essentially nothing. I say this because the majority of my clients will accept a “reasonable” offer rather than file a lawsuit.
Suing Another Person Is Harder Than Most People Think
As a personal injury attorney, I have encountered a number of people who say that they never thought that they would become one of “those” people who files a lawsuit. When I hear that, I often ask them why they say one of “those” people. The response is almost always the same that they’ve never filed a lawsuit themselves and think that there is some degree of responsibility in never having to file a lawsuit.
According to the statistics, “those” people only account for 5% of civil lawsuits being filed.
The truth is that having to sue another person for something that they did wrong is not your fault. In other words, it can’t be your fault that another person was texting and driving or that your doctor made a crucial mistake. You can do nothing to avoid that from happening to you.
Before most lawsuits are filed, personal injury claimants will request that the insurance company for the person who committed the tort settle the case within policy limits. This is done through a “demand” letter (although I don’t like the fact that the word “demand” is used) with the injured person’s medical records and medical bills attached, oftentimes along with any other evidence that may be relevant.
Every injured person hopes that the insurance company takes their claim seriously. As mentioned above, if the offer to settle is “reasonable,” most people will settle. However, if the offer to settle merely covers the medical expenses, then common sense is that the case isn’t likely to settle.
This doesn’t just happen in “small” tort cases. Defendants in “big” or “catastrophic” injury cases sometimes don’t even offer enough to cover the medical expenses let alone damages for pain and suffering or lost wages.
What To Look For In An Attorney
If you ever have to file a lawsuit, you are in for the fight of your life. This is where a personal injury attorney helps you. You should interview several attorneys and get a feel for who is going to connect with you on your case. The most important skill for an attorney is communication and not how many “big” cases they have gotten in the past or how “big” of a law firm they work in.
You should keep in mind that your attorney is the person who is going to communicate your case to the insurance company and to a jury, if necessary. Your attorney will not be able to tell the jury about other cases they settled in the past or how many lawyers work at their firm. Your case must stand on its own two feet.
Getting Help On Your Case
If you would like to consider us for your case, please contact us for a free appointment with a personal injury attorney. At the consultation, we will explain our thoughts about the merits of your case and how the costs break down. Call us to set up your free case review.