What does the public really think of lawsuits?
Lawsuits are what protect businesses when any form of conflict arises. Whether it be sexual harassment or any type of workplace misconduct, lawsuits are what help businesses and people protect themselves in many different situations. Dependent on the situation at hand, it is difficult not to develop a personal opinion in any lawsuit or on the overall scope of lawsuits in general. One can’t help but invest themselves personally in the situation at hand and ask questions such as, “Is this really necessary?” or “What would I do if I was in this person or company’s position?”
Over 1,000 anonymous men and women have been surveyed to give their public opinion on lawsuits, lawyers, car accidents, and insurance. The difference in opinion varies across the board.
Unless we are directly involved in the legal career field, it is hard to base a solid opinion on lawsuits because, in the general scope, we do not have the legal knowledge or background. Most of these opinions and statistics are based on solely public opinion and personal belief.
When asking the public opinion on suing an individual party, the results were as follows:
- The vast majority of respondents would consider suing, but only under the right conditions.
- More than 95% of survey participants would sue, but their motivation for suing ranges from merely feeling “wronged” to legal action being absolutely necessary due to the serious impact on the victim’s life.
- Almost half of respondents would never even consider suing a loved one – and that means more than half would sue (and have already thought about when they would sue).
There was a surprising amount that agreed that they would sue out of revenge or the need for financial gain. A few examples of this type of behavior might be suing a family member out of revenge/family disharmony or suing a corporation for not receiving certain funds as expected. Many had agreed that if money was involved in any form, i.e. lottery related or winning a lump sum of money, they would do anything it takes to receive that money, even if it meant acting unethically.
“More than 80% of respondents say they wouldn’t engage in dishonest behavior to win a $100,000 accident settlement. The nearly 20% remaining are willing to do everything from exaggerating real injuries to getting into a collision intentionally.”
Here were the statistics listed when asking someone the reasons in which they would be willing to sue:
- 57.05% of respondents said, “I would only sue someone if I felt it was absolutely necessary.”
- 29.23% of respondents said, “I would sue someone if I felt I was wronged and a lawyer thinks it’s a good case.”
- 8.83% of respondents said, “Yes, I would sue someone if I felt wronged.”
- 4.89% of respondents said, “No, I would never sue someone.”
This bleeds into asking the question, what does this say about the community’s moral compass? Is suing solely because we feel wronged, an accurate reason? Or do we need more evidence and a base behind our emotions? Those surveyed stating they would only sue if necessary are generally on the correct side of the spectrum when it comes to whether or not suing another party is a good idea. The other morally correct response was suing on the condition that a law professional agrees that there is a good case at hand. But this survey question brought to the forefront the moral compass of our community and if suing purely based on emotion is good enough or if we need more of a background to plead our case. “This small but vocal group must be what people with legitimate claims mean when they say to us – as they often do – that they’re “not the type of person to sue.”
Statistics on suing a family member/friend:
- 47.74% of respondents said, “No, I would never sue a family member or friend.”
- 31.58% of respondents said, “I would consider suing a family member or friend if the injury was severe enough.”
- 19.45% of respondents said, “I would sue a family member or friend, but only if it would be paid by their insurance.”
- 1.22% of respondents said, “Yes, and I have done it in the past.”
The response of suing a family member or friend if the injury were severe enough seems to be the most ethical. In the legal field, simply because someone is related by blood doesn’t make them always act ethically. In reality, if you are wrong by someone and there is a basis of evidence to prove that you were in fact wronged, it might be necessary to seek legal recourse against said family member or friend, even if it may cause disharmony.
Suing in the case of a car accident.
- 34.21% of respondents said, “I think people are looking for reasons to sue in a car accident.”
- 32.24% of respondents said, “I think it would be rare for someone to sue me in a car accident.”
- 26.03% of respondents said, “No, I do not think a lawsuit will happen.”
- 7.52% of respondents said, “I’m very concerned about being sued in a car accident.”
In the case of a car accident, it would be reasonable to sue if one of the parties or both parties involved suffered a substantial injury or wrongful death. In these instances, a case would qualify for going to trial. If no injury or wrongful death occurred, typically, insurance would be able to cover any substantial auto damage.
Reasons why a person wouldn’t sue in an auto collision.
- 51.60% of respondents said, “I’ve never been injured that was someone else’s fault.”
- 26.13% of respondents said, “I didn’t think my injury was bad enough.”
- 14.29% of respondents said, “I’m not that type of person.”
- 10.43% of respondents said, “Legal process was too much trouble.”
- 9.96% of respondents said, “I didn’t realize I could sue at the time.”
- 9.77% of respondents said, “I thought it would be too expensive.”
- 7.52% of respondents said, “The person who caused the injury was a friend or family member.”
- 6.48% of respondents said, “I felt like it would hurt the other person financially.”
- 3.48% of respondents said, “I think it’s wrong to sue someone.”
As stated earlier, if a substantial injury occurred or wrongful death, these are grounds to sue under any circumstance. Especially if the injury was the cause of something potentially lifelong or resulted in hospital time. In any instance where injury has occurred, it is the best decision to always consult with an attorney to see what your legal rights are.
Most popular reasons why people choose to sue.
- 69.92% of respondents said, “If I were so injured that I felt I had no choice.”
- 18.33% of respondents said, “I feel like it’s the right thing to do.”
- 7.42% of respondents said, “I want money.”
- 2.73% of respondents said, “I’m pissed off and want revenge.”
- 1.60% of respondents said, “Screw insurance companies.”
In essence, the only reason there should be to sue should be if a substantial injury occurred. For those who felt it was the “right thing to do,” this is where it gets dicey. Suing someone needs ethical grounds. Simply because someone “feels” that it is the right path, does not mean that is necessarily true. There needs to be enough evidence against the party in question to prove that there was either malicious intent or that there was a substantial injury to one of the parties. This is another reason why it is always a good decision to consult with a legal professional before assuming that suing is the correct pathway to take.
Moral compromises that people would take to receive a payout.
- 11.65% of respondents said they would “exaggerate injuries from an accident.”
- 5.83% of respondents said they would “fake an injury.”
- 3.95% of respondents said they would “fake an accident.”
- 2.91% of respondents said they would “get in an accident on purpose.”
- 82.33% of respondents said, “None, I am a morally superior person.”
The reasoning behind people’s decisions to sue speaks volumes to our society’s moral compass. Many people are very driven by financial gain, which can potentially create for significant financial loss dependent on the rulings of a court. It is important you accurately describe everything that has happened in your claim and accurately provide for any injuries sustained. Your attorney will accurately be able to help you build your case and decide if the case will hold up in court. If faced with the decision to sue, it is best to do so as soon after the incident has occurred as possible.