Lawsuits In The U.S.

August 31, 2011 Posted by admin

According to the latest BLS national wage estimate through May 2010, the mean annual salary for lawyers was around  $129,440, which partly accounts for the fact that the U.S. has one of the highest number of lawyers per capita in the world.

Based on data from the American Bar Association, there are over 1.2 million lawyers in the United States.  That’s one attorney for every 254 Americans, which also makes some of the stunning statistics (and what a waste of resources) illustrated in the infographic below somewhat “logical”:

  • 15 million lawsuits will be filed in 2011 across the U.S.
  • A new lawsuit every 2 seconds
  • One lawsuit for every 12 adults
  • 21 U.S. states are facing a medical liability crisis
  • $248.1 billion = the cost to the U.S. tort system (personal injury) in 2009, or $808 per person
  • The cost per capita of tort related lawsuits has increased 800% between 1950 to 2009

The Great Recession may have diminished the ability of lawyers to command a higher salary, but probably at the same time also has increased the likelihood of frivolous litigation, as the odds are good for some kind of settlement to avoid an even more costly trial, particularly when insurance companies are involved.

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One Response to Lawsuits In The U.S.

  1. richard stoll on September 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    As an attorney and conservative, I cannot understand why conservatives who typically scream at any government incursion on an individual’s rights want to limit a person’s right to seek redress in court, which seems to be the implication of this article. “Frivolous” lawsuits almost always fail at trial and since the 90s insurance companies in California who employ staff counsel have agressively taken many such frivolous cases to trial with obvious results. Because of the agressive stance of almost all of the insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, at least in Southern California, frequently reject the more questionable cases. Which brings me to what many people perceive as the poster child for “frivolous lawsuits” – the McDonalds case. How could a jury award so much money to a stupid woman who spilled coffee on herself while driving. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of facts presented to the jury. First of all, industry standards call for coffe to be served at 155 to 175 degrees. McDonalds, however, heated their coffee well beyond that – 195 to 205 degrees. From 1982 to 1992, 700 claims were made to McDonalds for coffee burns for which McDonalds paid over $500,000.00 to settle. Despite knowledge that their coffee was burning people – some with 3rd degree burns – they continued serving coffee well above industry standards. McDonalds own quality assurance manager admitted at trial that their superheated coffee was hazardous. The plaintiff, who was not driving but a passenger in a vehicle, suffered 3rd degree burns and because of her age suffered significant injuries and hospital and medical bills. The jury was obviously angered by McDonald’s callous and indifferent attitude that despite knowledge their superheated coffee was harming people, they continued to serve their coffee at higher than normal temperatures. As far as the number of lawyers are concerned, let the market dictate. If the number gets too high and jobs are not out there, fewer will go to law school or seek other employment options. Apply the same conservative values to a person’s right to seek redress in court and let the market determine.

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