by Tim O’Hare
Many Insurance companies and business organizations are crying foul play when it comes to personal injury cases, running advertisements about the rise of frivolous lawsuits in our country. The reality is, their claims simply aren’t based on fact.
The most common lawsuit abuse myth is that the number of lawsuits filed each year has skyrocketed. According to the National Center for State Court, the number of tort cases (personal injury cases) filed has been on the decline for years, with a 25 percent drop between 1999 and 2008. According to the Justice Department, the number of federal tort cases declined 79 percent between 1985 and 2003.
So why all the ruckus about lawsuit abuse? It is an opportunity for insurance companies and business organizations to make more money and score points with people who do not have all the facts.
Take a moment to look at the issue practically as we debunk these five common myths.
Myth: Medical doctors are unable to practice due to increasing medical malpractice claims.
Fact: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the number of medical malpractice claims in the U.S accounts for less than two percent of the overall cost of health care.
Myth: With medical malpractice tort reform, doctors’ insurance premiums would go down.
Fact: Doctors didn’t see a decrease in premiums, but insurance companies saw profits increase dramatically. In addition, medical tort reform keeps thousands of people from being able to bring legitimate claims to court, allowing doctors to commit malpractice without repercussion. In 2005, American Insurance Association spokesman Dennis Kelly told the Chicago Tribune that, “we have not promised price reductions with tort reform.”
Myth: Lawsuits hurt small businesses.
Fact: Says who? A number of surveys of small business owners, including one from the National Association of Manufacturers, suggests small business owners are least concerned with lawsuit abuse. In fact, another survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found cost and frequency of lawsuits or threatened lawsuits ranks 65th on a list of 75 common worries among business owners.
Myth: People will stage an accident in an attempt to earn money in a lawsuit.
Fact: In my 16 years of practicing personal injury law and representing thousands of injured people, I have come across only two instances of individuals attempting to fake injuries to get money (which we, of course, stayed away from.)
Myth: Insurance premiums are rising due to the cost of litigation.
Fact: Premiums are rising, but not because insurance companies are broke from the number of lawsuits filed. In 2004, the insurance industry’s annual profit report showed a profit of $38.7 billion, breaking all previous records. In 2007, their profit was listed at $61.9 billion.
There are some people who will take advantage of an opportunity to make a buck by filing a false claim, but the reality is that those individuals are very few and far between. The number of injury claims has been on a steady decline for years, which indicates the battle cry of “lawsuit abuse” is little more than a myth itself.
If you are seriously injured and looking are looking for a personal injury attorney with integrity, who will do everything to protect you and your case, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.
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