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The idea of “easy money” is a temptation that’s hard to resist. No one knows that better than plaintiff attorneys, who flood the airwaves and billboards across the country advertising their services and encouraging civil litigation. In fact, plaintiff attorneys spent $1.4 billion dollars on advertising in 2021 alone.

In civil cases, the plaintiff has a lower burden of proof than in a criminal case, and with the encouragement of an attorney, it may seem reasonable for consumers to expect a positive outcome and a jackpot. But is this idea too good to be true?

Lynne McChristian and Dr. Robert Hartwig shared the top three myths surrounding civil litigation and the reality of these issues. In this segment they expanded on the following:

  • MYTH #1: You will receive a huge payout. REALITY: The plaintiff attorney keeps a large percentage of the settlement, typically between 33-40% of the total. Additionally, a large amount may also go to third party investors who have no relationship to the claimant other than to profit from their injuries.
  • MYTH #2: Only a small percentage of families are impacted by the costs of civil litigation. REALITY: Every American household pays more than a $3,600 “tort tax” that raises the costs of products and services like groceries and gas.
  • MYTH #3: Filing a lawsuit is the only way to get recourse. REALITY: Calling your insurance company could result in a quicker resolution.

For more information please visit: www.apci.org

Produced for: American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA)

DR. ROBERT P. HARTWIG, CPCU is the Clinical Associate Professor of Finance & Director, Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina

LYNNE MCCHRISTIAN, is the Director of the Office of Risk Management & Insurance Research at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign