It’s a misperception that just won’t go away: Today’s court system is bogged down by frivolous civil lawsuits. The truth is that more than 60% of lawsuits today are businesses suing other businesses or civilians and that civil lawsuits in Illinois fell 43% between 2010-2015. Civil lawsuits are those brought by an individual against another individual or business. This means the number of Americans suing anyone for being wronged is falling dramatically.
Exaggerations and Outright Lies
If you listen to the propaganda machine out there, you’d hear that civil lawsuits are at fault for raising our insurance premiums, driving doctors out of of the profession, and preventing our country from coming up with a reasonably-priced national insurance program that benefits most. You’d likely also hear that civilians and workers are costing businesses millions each year for injury and workers’ comp lawsuits, and that Americans in general have gone lawsuit crazy.
In Illinois alone, medical malpractice lawsuits have dropped 32% in 14 years. That’s not insignificant. The decrease alone is noteworthy, but coupled with the fact that these types of civil lawsuits have been blamed for all of the above mentioned problems plaguing our healthcare system makes you wonder who is perpetuating these so-called facts.
According to the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA), Site Selection magazine consistently places our state as the top metro area in the country. Illinois also ranked 3rd in the country for capital investment projects last year. It’s worth also considering what’s happening to workers’ compensation in our state. Workers’ compensation medical payments for injured workers treatment have fallen nearly 15 percent in the past 6 years. Illinois’ average workers comp payments are lower than Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. Putting all these facts together, it would seem that Illinois is quite an attractive place not just for tourists, but for businesses as well.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Pushing Lies
One of the biggest pushers of this false idea that civil lawsuits are clogging our court system is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recently released results from the ‘2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey,’ a study conducted on their behalf by the Institute for Legal Reform. The study ranks each of the 50 states according to how fair businesses feel the state’s legal system is. According to the Institute for Legal Reform, this is important “because they can be influential in business decisions about where to conduct/expand/constrict business operations or sales. Most of the respondents in this survey (85%) report that a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their companies, such as where to locate or to do business.”
One of the major issues with this study is that those polled in each state were attorneys who represent big businesses. Their main objective is to reduce the number of lawsuits filed against them, so it serves them well to be outspoken and outraged at the legal and political climate surrounding business lawsuits in their state. Our legal system is configured to allow frivolous lawsuits to be cast aside. Attorneys willing to take on frivolous lawsuits do so at their peril. An experienced, honest personal injury attorney knows that spending time and money working up a case when the outcome is likely to not be favorable is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. In a recent press release, ITLA stated “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s donors don’t truly fear so-called frivolous lawsuits because they know our justice system filters out cases without merit. What they fear are meritorious lawsuits – actions brought by citizens against those putting others’ children or loved ones at risk of injury or death.”
Illinois residents and all Americans deserve the right to pursue justice in the court system. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporate attorneys know that giving civilians such a powerful voice can be a scary thing. Especially when we’ve been injured or wronged and the court justly rules in our favor.
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