Are you fed up with annoying ads from personal injury lawyers? These lawyers are wasting your time and your money.
On his show Sept.23, Fox Business Correspondent John Stossel exposed the costs of frivolous lawsuits to taxpayers. Costs go far beyond litigation fees and dig deep into taxpayers’ pocketbooks.
Stossel explained that lawsuits “[A]dd $500 to the price of every car and $3,000 to every pacemaker. Even haircuts cost more because hairdressers buy lawsuit insurance. Maybe someone will have a bad hair day. But an even greater cost is the loss of some of the good things we don’t get to have in the first place. Some companies have stopped research on AIDS vaccines. GlaxoSmithKline developed a Lyme disease vaccine. The FDA approved it but the company won’t sell it because the cost of lawsuits makes it unprofitable. No vaccine, no one to sue. But we’re not safer. Likewise, are you pregnant or nauseous with morning sickness? Too bad. In other countries you can buy pills for that but not in America. All sorts of entrepreneurs give up on promising ideas because innovation or any change risks opening the door to him.” He is referring to “Super lawyer” Mark Lanier. Lanier is one of thousands of lawyers who have made millions of dollars on personal injury cases.
Lawyers like Lanier justify their cases by scare tactics, aggrandizing statistics in their favor or blaming companies for withholding information. When asked about the number of mesothelioma related deaths per year Lanier answers “Between 2,000 and 4,000 per year.” That statistic appears to be a substantial amount. However, Stossel quickly puts that statistic in perspective. “[M]ore people die in falls or fires or crossing the street. The horrors of September 11 cost insurance companies $43 billion. These asbestos suits will cost America over $200 billion. The people will get a few thousand dollars and you will get 1/3.”
The solution to this problem, according to legal analyst Marie Griffin, is a program called “Loser Pays.” Griffin states, “Almost every other country in the entire world has a common-sense rule that if you drive somebody else into court and they are innocent, you have to cover the costs they incurred to defend themselves from your meritless lawsuit. We should have a system very similar in the United States.”
“Loser Pays” has been proposed in the United States before but is defeated by the trial lawyers every time. Stossel states the U.S. is the only “civilized country” in which “if a judge finds my case is wrong or totally stupid, I can walk away.”
Until a plan like “Loser Pays” is adopted into the U.S. legal system it is tax payers who are the losers and lawyers are taking that straight to the bank.