Why Would Anyone File A Frivolous Lawsuit?

Bringing a frivolous lawsuit makes no sense for a personal injury attorney.

Contrary to public perception of personal injury law, insurance companies do not pay claims simply because a lawsuit or claim has been filed for a personal injury.  Often, the insurance companies, particularly in medical malpractice cases, refuse to pay a dime even in clearcut, obvious cases of medical neglect. The insurance companies are in business to make a profit for their shareholders and they don’t make money by paying claims. Hence, most insurance companies will deny claims until the last possible moment when it is clear to them that a jury will award a much larger amount than they can settle the case.

A personal injury attorney works on a contingency fee agreement with his/her client. The contingency fee agreement means that the attorney only receives a legal fee is he recovers money on behalf of the client. If there is no recovery of money, the attorney has dedicated months or years of his time on a case without the payment of a legal fee. Therefore, it does not make sense for a personal injury attorney to accept a case when the merit is questionable or weak.

The potential loss to the personal injury attorney does not only involve his time and the time of his legal secretaries, associate attorneys and paralegals.  Just as significant is the loss of money that the attorney must advance for court expenses, such as the fees for expert witnesses, deposition expenses and in some cases, the cost of reconstructing accident scenes with computer animation.  It is common for expenses to run between $40,000 to $80,000 in a medical malpractice case and in complex litigation, the costs can be much higher. If the plaintiff’s case is lost at trial, the attorney rarely recovers any of the money he has laid out for the expenses.

Faced with the prospect of losing time and money with a weak lawsuit, it is very rare that a personal injury attorney will accept the case. LAWYERS GO OUT OF BUSINESS ACCEPTING WEAK CASES.  Frivolous lawsuits exist, but the simple reality is that they are much less frequent than viewed by the eyes of public opinion.