I cannot tell you how many times I have had personal injury clients call me about taking their case, but they feel conflicted about calling a lawyer because they are “not the suing type.” For whatever reason, people have a sense of guilt about the prospect of suing another person. My immediate response is that you should not feel guilty about pursuing your rights and making the guilty party be held responsible for your injury . Let’s assume you are injured in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault. Now you have hospital expenses, doctor bills, and lost wages. Shouldn’t the negligent driver be held liable to compensate you for your expenses and injuries? But the reality is that, unless you are willing to pursue the negligent driver, they normally will not show up at your door and voluntarily offer to compensate you. For the most part, your claim would be dealt with through the responsible driver’s insurance company and not the driver personally. However, if the insurance company is not willing to fairly compensate you, then you will have to sue the other driver personally. If you do not pursue your rights because you are not the “suing type,” then the only one that benefits from that philosophy is the other driver and the insurance company.
Unfortunately there are people who do abuse the legal system. And even more unfortunate is the fact that there are lawyers who are willing to take those cases. When I come across cases that I believe are being inflated or exaggerated, I politely tell the caller that I am not interested in the case. But for every person with an illegitimate case, there are 20 others cases that are legitimate and deserve to be pursued. It’s those small number of illegitimate claims that are highlighted by the insurance industry in their “tort reform” campaign to discourage anyone and everyone, including legitimate claimants, from pursuing their rights.
The stigma that has attached to our judicial system because of illegitimate claims should not discourage law abiding citizens from using our judicial system as it was intended to be used. In a truly democratic system of government, courts are created for a purpose. They make sure every citizen’s rights are preserved and protected by providing a process in which disputes are fairly resolved. If responsible citizens do not engage our court system to resolve their disputes, then there would be no incentive for people to take responsibility for their unlawful actions. And when that happens, the rest of society pays for that person’s short-fall.