She tried to settle her claim with the insurance company who insured the at-fault driver but they did not want to pay her fairly.
Last week, I tried a personal injury case. My client was seriously injured in a car accident. She tried to settle her claim with the insurance company who insured the at-fault driver but they did not want to pay her fairly. She hired my firm to represent her and I’m happy to report that a jury came up with a verdict that was fair – about four times what the insurance company offered to settle the case.
As always, I found the jury selection part of the case to be quite interesting. Jury selection is the part of the trial where the judge and the lawyers for both sides have the opportunity to question prospective jurors. This is done to ensure that the jury would be fair to both parties. In questioning the prospective jurors, many of them, as usual, mentioned things like, “People are too sue happy in our society.” Not one of the potential jurors said that they thought corporations are too sue happy.
So why is this so interesting to me? For a long time, Corporate America has been attempting to convince Americans to think that those who sue are in some way, immoral or just plain bad. Being “in the business,” I know they are doing this to escape accountability for their negligent behavior. Seems like every time I pick a jury in a personal injury case, I learn they are succeeding.
For instance, there are many organizations designed for the primary purpose of attempting to curb the ability of individuals to access the civil justice system. One of those organizations is The Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR). Caterpillar is a member. They sued Disney because they felt the portrayal of one of its bulldozers in one of the Disney movies was too wicked. FedEx is another member. They sued a man for making a chair out of FedEx boxes. These are just a couple of the companies that are members of the ILR.
While these lawsuits are silly, these companies have the Constitutional right to file them. What is despicable is that these same companies try their hardest to deny American citizens the same right, even when these people are seriously injured, sometimes killed by the companies’ products and actions.
There are countless companies that stand to gain financially from having people truly believe that individuals are too sue happy. Many companies wish to block individual access to the courthouses. These same companies have no desire to give up to right to access the same courthouses when they have been wronged. The American public in general must come to understand that the right to justice belongs not just to corporations, but to all Americans. The American public must stop buying into what the corporate world is selling them regarding our system of justice.