There is a common belief in the U.S. that frivolous personal injury lawsuits are a rampant epidemic, bogging down our court systems with phony injury claims. This narrative is fueled mainly by sensational news stories that account for a tiny percentage of personal injury lawsuits. Businesses and insurance companies would like you to believe that they are constant victims of con artists filled with greed but neither facts nor logic support these exaggerated stereotypes.
According to the Rand Institute for Social Justice, only 10% of Americans who have been injured file a claim for compensation, and just 2% file a lawsuit. While there are certainly opportunists among us, most people seeking compensation for personal injuries are legitimately hurt in accidents. There is great harm in perpetuating stigma around filing a personal injury lawsuit or shaming victims into thinking they should not seek justice.
What is a frivolous lawsuit?
A frivolous lawsuit is any lawsuit that has no legal merit, and therefore, little chance of succeeding. Frivolous lawsuits are usually filed with petty intent, such as harassing or embarrassing another party, airing a grudge, or delaying a legal proceeding. These baseless lawsuits never make it far. They are frowned upon by judges, businesses, insurance companies, and lawyers because they waste valuable time, money, and resources. Consider the following:
Frivolous lawsuits are usually thrown out of court. Most courts are overwhelmed by legitimate lawsuits, so there are systems in place to detect frivolous claims early on and get them thrown out of the legal system.
There are consequences for filing frivolous lawsuits. While filing a frivolous lawsuit may not be illegal, doing so can have serious consequences to plaintiffs and their attorneys. Depending on the harm caused, parties can be fined thousands of dollars, be issued sanctions or contempt orders, and even face criminal charges.
Lawyers have no incentive to take on frivolous personal injury cases. You may think lawyers make money off frivolous lawsuits, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Most personal injury law firms operate on a “contingency fee” arrangement, which means they don’t get paid unless there is a favorable outcome. To remain in business and be profitable, lawyers must conduct due diligence on personal injury cases and only accept a certain amount of risk.
Insurance companies do not settle on frivolous lawsuits. Bad actors looking to score large sums of money off frivolous claims through insurance settlements usually end up very disappointed. Insurance companies have vast resources to fight against cases without legal merit and typically don’t settle to make frivolous lawsuits go away.
Why should you file a personal injury lawsuit?
It’s not uncommon for accident victims to be hesitant about filing a lawsuit. Many people worry about what others will think, or they don’t want to create tension between themselves and the responsible party. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine the strength of your case. Following are three good reasons that may warrant filing a lawsuit:
- You should not be held financially or legally liable for another party’s negligence. Even the most minor injury can result in significant medical bills, prescription costs, auto repairs, and lost wages. By consulting with a personal injury attorney immediately after an accident, you’ll gain a better perspective of how much damage you have suffered.
- A business or insurance company has offered you a settlement far less than what you rightfully deserve based on your injuries and losses. A lawsuit may be unavoidable in this situation, and you will likely need an experienced attorney to diligently compile evidence and pursue all the compensation you deserve.
- Would-be defendants need to be held accountable. If there are no consequences for another person or entity’s neglect, other people may suffer the same or worse injuries in the future. Personal injury lawsuits help establish precedent and serve as an economic deterrent against unsafe conduct, practices, and products that result in harm others. Your suit can make society safer.
At Joseph Law Group, our ethical and experienced attorneys work closely with our potential clients to determine the merits of their case before embarking on any settlement or lawsuit. If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, we can thoroughly investigate your claim, help determine its value, and assume all costs related to the injury lawsuit. We are committed to protecting our clients’ futures and never charge a fee unless we are successful at helping you recover damages.
Schedule your free consultation with Joseph Law Group by calling 866-522-1402. We have offices in Cleveland and Youngstown but also schedule in-house or virtual appointments.