We hear it all the time. Everyone is sue happy. We are such a litigious society. Is that really true? Do we just hear the sound bites and believe them?
I’m here to say that I disagree. I know, "You’re biased because you are an attorney and make your living off suing people." Not true. We usually try to resolve claims without filing suit. It’s better for everyone if litigation can be avoided. Litigation is stressful for ALL involved.
Are there people who try to take advantage of the system? Absolutely! But, usually they are few and far between. Most people find out what it’s like to be in a car wreck and get injured when it happens. It’s not a planned event. The person doesn’t say, "Let me see if I can get in a car wreck today so I can sue someone."
What does happen? You are involved in a car accident. You start feeling a little sore. You decide to go to the doctor. you are told to go to therapy, and things progress. While you are dealing with your injuries, you also have to deal with the damage to your car – get a rental, go to the repair shop, or buy a new car because yours has been totaled. The other insurance company either ignores you, tries to settle quickly and cheap, or treats you like dirt, so you talk to your friends, and they encourage you to speak with a lawyer.
It is not a planned event. No legal cases are planned. Whether it’s a partnership gone bad (it always started with hope and great ideas), a mortgage, some consumer transaction, etc. You don’t get on the roads or enter a transaction with the idea that you will be suing someone one day. It just happens.
Next time you hear someone say that we live in a litigous society, think twice about it. Don’t just accept what "they" say. We really aren’t sue happy. We just want to be treated fairly and with respect. If people did that, there would be less litigation than there is, and in reality, litigation has decreased regardless.