Frivolous Lawsuits Are a Problem
Many people in the U.S. feel that there are a huge number of frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits filed in this country. Those that are rallying behind the call of “tort reform” -- mostly insurance companies, healthcare institutions and their lawyers -- feel that frivolous lawsuits only serve one purpose: Driving up the costs of insurance and healthcare. As a personal injury attorney, I hear that all the time. There are many people who feel that filing a lawsuit against someone else is not the correct thing to do, and that it just leads to additional costs for the consumer for things like automobile insurance and medical care.
And I wholeheartedly agree.
Appropriate Lawsuits Aren't
But I’d like to ask you a couple of questions. If your mother was seriously hurt because she slipped and fell in a puddle of water in the grocery store, would you want her to receive the best medical care, and some financial compensation for her pain and suffering?
If your teenage daughter was hurt in a bad car crash because someone illegally turned into her path on the road, would you still think filing a lawsuit against the other driver was wrong?
In my line of work, I see this every day. Good people who go about their daily lives, trying to be the best they can be, to advance their personal situation in only positive ways, are suddenly thrown into an unbelievable turmoil – through absolutely no fault of their own. In an instant, their lives, and that of their families, are completely out of their control. Serious injuries caused by the crash may leave them unable to work to provide for their families, or in the most tragic of circumstances, a family has no idea how they will even exist because the person who was the primary source of income has been killed in a fatal crash.
Would you still feel that filing a lawsuit is something you’d never do?
After a serious injury caused in car or motorcycle crash, or tripping down a flight of stairs because of a loose railing, so many things begin to happen – and people need help. When a lawsuit for financial damages is filed, it’s not against the driver who caused the crash, or the owner of the building with the unsafe stairs. The injured party ends up having to deal with a barrage of attorneys representing the other party’s insurance company. Believe me, they will be extremely aggressive in their efforts to resist paying you anything at all for your injuries, your subsequent medical care and treatment, any rehabilitative therapy you may need, or any wages you are unable to earn as a result of your situation.
Common Myths and Misperceptions about Personal Injury
There are so many myths and misconceptions when it comes to exactly what is involved in filing a personal injury lawsuit. Most people think that since they carry insurance, they’ll be covered. But you need to understand that the highly-trained insurance company lawyers will go to great lengths to make sure they don’t end up paying you a dime – or, the very least they can get away with. That’s why it’s critical that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – you say following the crash will be used to help them prove that the party they represent was not really at fault in the accident.
Insurance investigators are trained to sound like they are just asking you some friendly, casual questions, and most people are caught off guard, not realizing that even the most innocent sounding responses can be construed as an admission of guilt on their part. If you agree to accept any form of financial compensation after a crash, you are agreeing to waive all rights to seek any kind of future compensation from that point forward, even if your medical condition seriously worsens, or you lose your job as a result of your injuries.
Many people are also under the misconception that hiring a personal injury lawyer is too expensive, and so they never call to get help. First, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys will sit down and speak with you at no cost. Their job is to review the full circumstances of your case, and let you know whether you may have a legal right to pursue financial compensation for your property damage and physical injuries. Second, if you end up hiring an attorney to represent you, in the vast majority of cases you will only be required to pay any fees or costs if your attorney is successful on your behalf, either in negotiating a financial settlement before the case goes to trial, or through an award determined at the end of a jury trial. Only then will you be responsible for costs and fees – if your attorney is not successful on your behalf, you owe them nothing.
Another myth many people believe is that if they have a cousin or sister who practices tax law or divorce law, they’ll be able to take care of them in the event of an accident. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Our law firm does not handle real estate law, commercial business litigation, social security law, and many other areas of the practice of law. Our attorneys are focused on justice for accident victims, and devote 100% of their energies towards helping our clients receive the fair and just financial compensation to which they are entitled under the law – and whether you contact us or research personal injury attorneys in your own area, you should look for a firm that specializes in your particular need.
Read this next: After the Crash: What Insurance Companies Don't Tell You
No one can tell if or when you or someone in your family may suffer serious injuries in an accident, but a qualified personal injury lawyer can tell you what to do if you are. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can handle it yourself. One simple phone call to a qualified and experienced law firm is all it takes to ensure your rights are being aggressively represented, and to begin to put your world back together again.
Are there unnecessary and frivolous law suits filed that do nothing more than waste taxpayer money, clog up the court systems and drive up legal and health care costs? Of course there are. But when you or one of your family members is seriously hurt in an accident through no fault of your own, you may just change your thinking about what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit.
Scot Goldberg, Esq., of Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro & Noone, is a member of numerous state and federal Bar Associations and other professional organizations. He holds a B.A. in Criminology from the University of South Florida and Juris Doctorate from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan and began his career as an Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit before his current long and successful run in private practice. You can find out more at www.goldberg-law.com.