If you read the newspaper or watch television, you’ll have noticed that hardly a week goes by without someone repeating the myth that Americans are “lawsuit happy” and that juries routinely hand out millions of dollars to undeserving plaintiffs.
The truth is that these myths are created and continuously repeated by special interest groups whose goal is to undermine the civil justice system that is supposed to provide equal protection to everyone. While many of the negative myths that are written and broadcast are actually carefully crafted, paid advertisements, they’ve convinced large numbers of Americans that the civil justice system is “broken.” Some of these myths even work themselves into legitimate news reports.
However, if there is a weakness in the civil justice system, it is because Congress and state legislatures have been pressured into changing the rules so that big businesses that act irresponsibly get favorable treatment. Special interest groups that want to avoid being held accountable when they do wrong spend millions of dollars a year spreading myths about our court system.
For example, a favorite myth of these special interest groups is that Americans are “lawsuit happy.” However, recent studies show that the number of personal injury law- suits is actually decreasing. Studies have shown that only 10 percent of injured victims ever file a claim, including informal demands and insurance claims. Only 2 percent of victims file a lawsuit.
Another myth is that citizens are refusing to volunteer for activities, such as coaching Little League, because of the fear of being sued. The truth is many such volunteers are protected against lawsuits. For example, Congress passed a law more than five years ago providing immunity to Little League coaches.
Still another myth is that juries recklessly hand out huge awards to plaintiffs on a regular basis. In fact, a study of cases in 75 of the nation’s largest counties found that plaintiffs in tort cases won less than half the time and that the median final award plaintiffs received was $30,500.
Americans should be aware that special interest organizations with a vested interest in tilting the scales of justice toward themselves promote much of the hype Americans read and hear about our nation’s court system. David Dudley international extradition attorney with the knowledge and skill to help defendants who are seeking to avoid extradition both to and from the United States.