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Who Really Pays in Personal Injury Litigation?

One of the biggest myths put out by anti lawsuit groups is the idea that personal injury claims cost small business owners billions of dollars each year. This just isn’t true. Personal injury claims filed against businesses or individuals who have harmed innocent victims are one of the only types of lawsuits filed where the defendant usually pays NOTHING to defend. For defendants who have insurance, when a claim is made the insurance company pays all of the attorney’s fees, all of the litigation costs, and typically all of the damages awarded. Some insurance policies even reimburse defendants for time they miss from work.

On the other hand, if an injured victim files a lawsuit because the defendant’s insurance company won’t make a fair offer, then the victim must pay out of their own pocket all the expenses of litigation. This can turn out to be thousands of dollars for expert witness fees, depositions, medical records, and even to have their own treating physician testify at trial about the harm they have suffered. Some physicians charge their patients as much as $5,000 per hour to testify in court. These are all expenses which the defendant doesn’t have to pay the plaintiff even if the defendant loses.

To add insult to injury, when the jury compensates the injured victim for the cost of their past medical treatment, the victim’s own health insurance company comes in and takes the entire amount. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, United Health Care and others don’t even have to share in the expenses to get their money back. Well, in exchange you would expect the injured party to at least get a refund of some of their premiums, co-pays, etc. or lower insurance costs in the future, but we all know that’s not true.

So the next time someone tells you personal injury lawsuits cost small businesses billions of dollars, you can tell them it’s just not true! The only people who truly suffer are those who were needlessly harmed by the negligence of others.

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