Only Six Percent of Cases Filed Are Tort Related
If you were to take a guess about what goes on inside of America’s civil court rooms, what percentage of cases heard would you guess are medical practice, slip and fall accidents, product liability cases and the like. Sixty percent? Seventy-five percent? More?
If your guess was anywhere above ten percent, you’re way off. In fact, only six percent of cases that are filed are tort related.
Why were you under such a wrong impression? Because that’s what big businesses want you to believe. The more they spread the myth of frivolous lawsuits and unreasonable damages being paid to dubious victims, the more they can blame rising prices on the same.
Think about the cases that you’ve heard about – the ones that have been pointed to as being wastes of court time and business money. The one you probably know best is the McDonalds’ hot coffee case. Remember that one? You probably think that the victim in that case filed a silly lawsuit based on non-existent or inconsequential damages and that they got millions of dollars. In fact, the woman who filed the suit was elderly and was hospitalized for over a week as a result of the third-degree burns that she suffered. The coffee that was served to her was not just hot, but was in fact fifty degrees hotter than the temperature that is generally served at retail establishments and they had received hundreds of complaints about the issue, and perhaps most importantly the woman had asked for just $20,000 to cover her medical bills. Her actual jury award was just $640,000. Yet McDonalds and other businesses have subtly promoted the notion that this was yet another example of unreasonable litigation.
There are many other, similar cases that are frequently evoked by legislators and corporations seeking tort reform.
Yet the truth is that when you look at the actual numbers, only 1.3 percent of all civil cases are personal injury lawsuits, and there was a dramatic decrease of 52 percent in the number of personal injury jury trials in the years between 1992 and 2005. More importantly, in the years between 1985 and 1991, almost half of all federal litigation was between businesses fighting over contracts, and when it comes to frivolous lawsuits, judges are quick to point out that they are seeing decreasing numbers of claims filed, and that they have the power to dismiss cases that they feel are without merit – and to penalize attorneys who bring them.
One of the most important points to remember when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, attorneys generally do not get paid unless they win their clients’ case – and then they just receive a percentage of the damages awarded. These attorneys do not take cases unless they are fairly certain that they are valid, as they do not get paid when their clients don’t win.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of negligence, a personal injury attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers will provide you with a fair assessment of your rights and the strength of your case. Contact us today to set up a free appointment with one of our experienced professionals.