Are the Number of Lawsuits Dropping?

The number of new civil lawsuits being filed has dropped in Texas. I’ve noticed that same trend here in Dallas with respect to personal injury litigation.   In 2005, 610,355 suits were filed.  In 2014, 505,104 suits were file.  That is a 17% drop over a 10 year period.  This is true even though the Texas population has grown.  But is this a good thing?

However, some cases such as auto accidents has increased.

Well, maybe not….  Experts say that, although the number of auto accident cases have increased, the increase is far less proportionate to the population growth in Texas over the same period of time.

So, what is to blame in the decrease in tort litigation.  One could argue that tort reform has diluted our rights leaving an injured person with fewer remedies to pursue.  Before we rush to judgment that “tort reform” is a good thing, keep in mind that the motivation behind such a movement is to keep litigants out of court.  And before you conclude that keeping people from filing lawsuits is a good thing, ask yourself “Why?”

“To put it bluntly, there’s been a rollback of individual rights and remedies over the last two decades. Rights and remedies that existed at one time are no longer there or they have been diluted,” said Trey Apffel, president of the State Bar of Texas.

But why the increase in car accident filings?

Simple…. With less rights and remedies to pursue, cases become easier to settle because your rights have been predetermined before it ever sees the inside of a courtroom.  Traditionally, lawyers had more leverage to negotiate and good pre-suit settlement since the threat of filing a lawsuit presented a greater down-side for an at-fault driver.  In the past 10 years though, reaching a good pre-suit settlement is becoming more and more difficult resulting on more lawsuit being filed more quickly than before.

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