The truth is that the number of personal injury lawsuits is not excessive, and there is no evidence that shows that they are. If the actual number of personal injury lawsuits is increasing, it’s only because the population is increasing.
The number of automobile, motorcycle and pedestrian lawsuits has increased because of distracted drivers talking on the phone or texting. However, these cases are going to disappear rapidly due to advanced collision avoidance systems being installed in cars.
Safer Cars Mean Fewer Lawsuits
Some cars already have very sophisticated collision avoidance systems, and I predict that within a few years, there won’t be any car or motorcycle accidents. When personal injury lawsuits from car accidents disappear, don’t believe for a moment that car insurance will be cheap.
Cars are becoming safer in two ways.
The first is protecting the occupants. Some cars, like Volvo, are well-known for keeping passengers safe. In fact, we have never represented a client injured in a Volvo!
Volvo has a large animal detection feature that will avoid hitting a deer or moose.
The second is that cars are getting better at protecting people outside of the car, like pedestrians. Volvo has already had pedestrian detection for many years, and it keeps getting better.
Beneficial Effects of Lawsuits
Besides providing compensation for damage to a person or property caused by the negligence of someone else, lawsuits have several beneficial effects on society. Besides the obvious replacement of violence with civility, the biggest benefit is that it makes life safer.
If it were not for lawsuits, there would be no need to make cars safer. Within a few years, no one will ever be injured in a car again. In fact, Volvo advertises by the year 2020, no one will ever be seriously injured or killed again in a new Volvo car or SUV.
There Are Many Laws Designed to Eliminate Lawsuits
Many states, like New Jersey, have enacted laws that make it more difficult to bring a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, it’s disgusting how difficult they made it because many times, people with real injuries are unable to be compensated.
Interestingly, auto insurance rates in New Jersey are among the highest in the U.S., and New Jersey’s restrictions on lawsuits have done nothing to reduce insurance premiums.
In New York, many people with lifelong, painful soft tissue injuries, such as a neck or back injury from a car accident, find their case dismissed by the court because the court didn’t think the injury was serious enough.
Who Complains About Lawsuits?
The only people who complain about lawsuits are:
- People who have been sued because of their negligence, and believe that the plaintiff wasn’t injured. But in most of our cases, our clients didn’t know they were injured. We have even had many cases where our client had a broken bone and required surgery but didn’t realize he was injured at the time of the accident. Often, even the hospital doesn’t see a broken bone, but after pain sets in, it’s diagnosed a day or two later by a doctor.
- People who have not yet sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligence, and wrongly think lawsuits affect their insurance premiums. Those people always change their attitude once they get injured. We have represented several of those people.
John Stossel is one of those people. He did many anti-lawsuit stories on TV, but when he was slapped in the face by a professional wrestler, he ran to a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit and apparently got $425,000!
Read The Truth About Insurance; Tort Reform; Jury Verdicts; Real & Phony Law Suits
Are Lawsuits Out Of Control?
We don’t think so, but commercial litigation is where the real money is. It was reported that the settlement of the lawsuit between Qualcomm and Apple will net Qualcomm between $4.5 billion and $4.7 billion.
Think the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit is proof lawsuits are out of control? Read the true facts about the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit.
In a study by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, the median personal injury award nationwide in state court was $24,000, and the median damage award in federal court was $201,000.
This is pennies compared to commercial litigation in which a company sues another company. Often, insurance policies pay for the defense and the award against the company. Insurance may even pay for the plaintiff’s litigation costs.
Where I live, my village filed a lawsuit against a cell phone company to stop them from putting up antennas on an existing cell tower. At a meeting, I objected to the village filing a lawsuit because I believed the cell phone company would prevail, and I didn’t want to pay for the litigation from my taxes.
The village responded by saying it wouldn’t matter because they had insurance that would pay for the lawsuit. I pointed out that this type of expensive and prolonged litigation, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, would likely result in a premium increase and cost me money when the village raises my taxes, but that did not stop the village from proceeding with the litigation.
Phil Franckel is well-known in New York and has been a personal injury lawyer since 1989. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911, LLP®, the Personal Injury Dream Team™, and a former Member Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10 Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and others. See Mr. Franckel’s bio for areas of expertise.
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.
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