Personal Injury Lawsuits: Separating Fact From Fiction

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Between 1985 and 2003, the number of lawsuits for personal injuries and medical malpractice tried in the federal courts DROPPED by 79%, and, in the largest state courts, the number DROPPED almost 32% between 1992 and 2001. Despite these statistics, it seems as if you hear nothing but complaints about the greed of clients and personal injury lawyers, and how an explosion in lawsuits is ruining the country. It is time to separate truth from fiction.Fiction

The number of lawsuits is skyrocketing.

Fact

As stated above, the number of lawsuits (of nearly every kind and in nearly every jurisdiction) is plummeting. Mandatory arbitration and laws hostile to plaintiffs account for most of this drop.

Fiction

The costs of lawsuits are driving companies and doctors out of business.

Fact

Malpractice costs are less than 2% of the total cost of health care, and on their list of worries small business owners rate number 65 concerns over the cost of lawsuits, according to a recent survey.

Fiction

Lawsuits are driving up your insurance rates.

Fact

Insurance company profits are driving up your insurance rates. Insurers make record profits, even as the number of suits plummets, yet your rates do not go down.

Fiction

The costs of lawsuits are a “tax” on all Americans.

Fact

The “studies” that support this statement are funded by big oil, drug, tobacco, and insurance companies, the very entities that benefit from a reduction in lawsuits. There is no factual or scientific basis for this claim or even a reasonable explanation of how making a wrongdoer pay for his wrongs qualifies as a “tax” on anyone.

Fiction

Verdict caps will fight frivolous lawsuits.

Fact

A “verdict cap” is a number that no verdict can go over, such as the current $500,000 in Florida for medical malpractice cases. This has absolutely no effect on frivolous suits, which are usually arguing over less than $5,000. Verdict caps affect only the incredibly seriously injured such as single mothers who are now quadriplegic, children who will need a lifetime of care, and verdict caps ONLY affect those people who have already proven that their injuries were caused by another’s negligence.

Think seriously about how you would feel if someone who negligently breaks the back of someone in your family while texting and driving gets to enjoy the rest of their life without even exhausting their insurance, while you are left fighting every day, imprisoned by a wheelchair. That is what verdict caps mean. Leave the laws the way they are.

Conclusion

People complaining about lawsuits do so because they have a financial or political interest in the issue. Insurance companies do not make money by paying claims. Large corporations want the harm they cause to go uncompensated. Politicians find it easier to blame the victim than to address the underlying problems. In addition, politicians’ campaigns are often funded by big insurance, drug, tobacco, and oil companies which will cut funding to politicians who do not act in accordance with their interests.

The only people harmed by the reduction in lawsuits are those victimized by intentional or negligent acts who are being denied any recourse.

Herman & Wells handles personal injury lawsuits for the injured and their families in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Florida.