5 Common Misconceptions About Taking Lawsuits to Court
The law is a constant source of political debate as well as a major source of material for popular entertainment. Almost everyone has an opinion on the law even if only a fraction of those people have a clue as to how the law works. One particular area that seems to be full of misinformation is that of lawsuits. While suits are incredibly common, most individuals don’t have an accurate idea of how they really work. Below are five of the more common misconceptions about bringing a lawsuit to court.
1. Most Lawsuits are Frivolous
There’s certainly a bias in the media about bringing lawsuits. The public is more than familiar with sleazy attorneys and lying plaintiffs attempting to scam money out of individual citizens, and this image tends to be at the forefront of most minds when lawsuits are discussed. In truth, there are very few frivolous lawsuits filed compared to the total number of suits out there. Courts are very good at figuring out whether or not there is any merit to a case and those that don’t stand up will never make it to trial.
2. It’s Too Expensive
There’s a bit of truth here. In all honesty, bringing a suit to trial can be incredibly expensive, especially if the suit is complicated. There are dozens of costs that one might not consider, including many that happen before the trial itself. With that said, the expense of going to trial is often worth it if it is the best way for an individual to get the compensation that he or she deserves. One should always consider cost before going to court, but it’s inaccurate to say that the expense should automatically scare off any potential claimant.
3. Lawyers Take All the Money
It’s become common to hear individuals say that the only people who make money off of lawsuits are the lawyers. While it is true that most lawyers are well-compensated for their time, they don’t take home quite as much from a lawsuit as one might imagine. Most states have a hard cap on the percentage of an award that lawyers can take home when they work on a contingency basis, most of which are under a third of the overall award. Lawyers very rarely end up in a better financial position than the individual who wins the suit.
4. Suing Will Make You Rich
There’s an idea that some individuals are just one lawsuit away from striking it rich. In fact, the idea of bringing a suit is often considered a get rich quick scheme. In reality, though, the awards given by the courts in most cases are far lower than one might imagine. Medical malpractice awards, which might cover damages in the millions of dollars, actually have a median award of around four hundred thousand dollars. While that might seem like a great deal of money, the truth is that such an award would likely barely cover the damages done to the plaintiff.
5. Suing Means You Are After Money
While one of the most common types of damages awarded to plaintiffs comes in a monetary form, there are many lawsuits brought that don’t have money as an end goal. Lawsuits can be brought to stop an action from occurring, to make sure that something happens, or even to force another party to honor part of a contract that he or she has failed to uphold. In general, the goal of most suits is to return the injured party to the state he or she would be in if the other party hadn’t done something wrong.
Never listen to the common wisdom when it comes to court, because the truth is actually much more complicated. If you are involved in a lawsuit of any type, the only person to whom you should listen is a qualified attorney. While you may have to pay for his or her time, you can at least be assured that the answers you get are related to the reality of the law. Every lawsuit is different, though, so every situation will require a different legal approach.