When it comes to the lawsuit culture in America, most people will tell you that it is out of control. On the other hand, lawyers might tell you the opposite: Everyone deserves their day in court, as our laws clearly state. So, is America really turning into a sue-happy nation like everyone says?
Proponents of the notion that America is becoming sue-happy always tend to throw in the number of lawsuits going on at the time. One of the most popular of these numbers comes from U.S. hospitals themselves. They state that a whopping 45% of hospitals in the United States are being sued at the moment. This has led to a loss of physicians and nurses, causing a shortage across the country. A poll conducted by Harris Interactive shows that over 83% of Americans believe the legal system is making it too easy for people to sue for frivolous reasons. This number can be reflected in the amount Americans spend on tort litigation each year: $310 billion.
The Real Requirements for Lawsuits
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just sue for any small thing. Many people will often become frustrated and angry at the fact that they can’t sue for an alleged injury. Before you can even begin the process, you must prove that you are injured, which often requires a note from a physician. Other parts of a lawsuit include demonstrating legal responsibility. This can be found in the example of a motorist being hit from behind by a car. Often times, the driver in the car will attempt to counter-sue because the motorist should not have stopped so suddenly, and thus, now he must fix his car. This would be no doubt thrown out in court as the legal responsibility of a driver is to remain a safe distance from the other vehicle.
How the US Court System Deals With It
Determining who’s liable for personal injury is a complex process. It is also one that courts often leave for attorneys and insurance companies to battle out. Although common sense tells you that a judge can instantly rule over a frivolous lawsuit, the fact is that it’s not as easy as it sounds. This often leads people to come to the conclusion that frivolous lawsuits are clogging up our court systems. The reality is that judges understand that these lawsuits would never hold up in court. However, the legal system must still go along with it to a certain extent, and that is a common problem facing many states. So, is the United States becoming a sue-happy country? Not really. Frivolous lawsuits happen, but they are often quickly dismissed by the courts.
Author Harper Harmon is a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on business, health and other various topics. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication from UCLA and currently resides in Santa Cruz with her dog, Sassy.