There are a number of myths that the insurance industry wants consumers to accept on face value, because insurance companies can save a lot of money by avoiding liability for claims or limiting the amount of those claims if they can get consumers to accept them.
Insurance companies like to create the illusion that the civil court system is a big lottery where those who fake and exaggerate injuries try to bilk unsuspecting insurance companies out of millions of dollars. Lost in this distorted picture is the notion that the whole reason that insurance companies collect premiums is so that they can pool the funds and pay valid claims.
The insurance industry is behind a great deal of lobbying, and they have obtained substantial victories in terms of tort reform and other legislative restrictions on the ability of those injured by the negligence of others to seek compensation for their injuries. We have provided an overview of some of the myths commonly used to promote legislation aimed at protecting insurance companies at the expense of injury victims.
- The Civil Court System is One Big Lottery: The size of the average verdict in a personal injury case is far lower than many people realize.
- Juries Reach Runaway Verdicts: Studies show that most of the time jury verdicts are consistent with both what the judge or an independent evaluator would have found appropriate. In fact, juries tend to be more conservative about what they award than judges and independent evaluators.
- The Courts Are Full of Frivolous Lawsuits: Both auto accident lawsuits and other tort lawsuits in Georgia have consistently declined over the last decade or so. Contrary to the notion that there are more lawsuits, auto accident lawsuits in Georgia have declined by 14 percent since 1996. All tort (i.e. loosely, personal injury claims) lawsuits have declined since 1994 by 10 percent. And there are laws that provide for the assessment of attorneys’ fees and expenses if a judge determines that a claim is frivolous.
- Litigation Drives Up Insurance Rates and Health Care Costs: This argument is trotted out regularly by the insurance industry and the AMA in support of medical malpractice tort reform. While the data supports that the premiums paid by doctors for malpractice insurance have risen sharply, the cause appears to be the desire of insurance companies to increase profits by gouging doctors rather than the cost associated with paying out additional claims. A 2005 study involving the 15 largest insurance companies conducted by the former Missouri Insurance Commissioner revealed that the amount medical malpractice insurers collected in premiums increased by over 120 percent between 2000 and 2004, while the amount the companies paid out in claims rose by less than 6 percent.
Many people in Atlanta and throughout Georgia generally accept these myths. The reality is that the civil litigation system is an important check on negligent, reckless and intentional misconduct. The system punishes wrongdoers and compensates victims. At Montlick and Associates, we have been helping victims of negligence seek compensation for their injuries in Georgia for over 39 years. If you or someone close to you has suffered serious injuries or you have suffered the loss of a loved one, the experienced Georgia medical malpractice lawyers and Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to making sure our clients are treated fairly by insurance companies and receive the compensation that they deserve.
Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys and Georgia medical malpractice attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.