The insurance industry has tried to influence the minds of the American people against the process of civil justice, which has served us for centuries. Reports of a “litigation explosion” are simply a lie, created by a statistical trick.
Americans are among the least litigious of any western nation.
The vast majority of injured people never bring a claim for their injuries, and of those who do, many never receive fair compensation. Despite this misinformation by insurance companies, a competent attorney can help you get justice, while giving businesses and individuals the incentive to act with due care for the health and safety of others.
A Note on the Statistical Tricks of the Insurance Companies
The facts are clear. There is no lawsuit crisis in America. In fact, in the ten year period between 1997 and 2006, (the latest available period), tort (that is, negligence) lawsuits decreased by 21% despite a population increase of 8%.
Automobile accident cases decreased by 23% during the same period.
According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics in the year 2003, the number of civil cases going to trial in the entire Federal Court system was fewer than 1,000. That’s right! Fewer than 1,000 federal civil cases went to trial in the entire country! For the complete story and the latest report from the National Center for State Courts, a nonpartisan organization that compiles court statistical data, click here.
Only a small percentage of negligence claims are ever filed as lawsuits
And of the small percentage of tort cases that are filed, about 75 percent of the cases are resolved through settlement or voluntarily dismissed… only 3 percent go to trial. In addition, personal injury lawsuits make up about 10 percent of all civil cases filed in state courts of general jurisdiction. (Id. at 2)
How does the Insurance Information Institute convince Americans that they are “sue happy?”
Simple. By lumping tort claims in with mushrooming bankruptcies, divorces and business litigation under the general title of “civil lawsuits.”
The facts are that medical malpractice and products liability cases constitute a small percentage of civil cases.
• Medical malpractice claims make up 7.7 percent of tort cases
• Products liability cases comprise 1.5 percent
• Asbestos liability cases, 1.2 percent (Id. at 30-31.)