You might be surprised to learn that personal injury lawsuits really aren’t as prevalent as you think. While the media often reports sensational stories about burning hot coffee and defective products, the fact is, tort lawsuits make up only a small percentage of all of the legal cases that occur in the United States each year.
The Wisconsin Association For Justice recently distributed data about court filings in the state of Wisconsin over the past 10 years. Even our team was surprised to see some of the findings. Let’s explore a few interesting statistics.
1. Tort Law Makes Up Only 12% Of All Civil Cases
The public perception is often that there are too many lawsuits. The reality however, shows that tort lawsuits account for only 12 percent of all civil cases. Tort can be understood simply as wrongfully inflicted injury for which the law provides a remedy; this includes personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice and work injury, to name a few.
As Figure 1 below shows, in 2014, family law holds the majority of case filings, with 42 percent, while contract/real estate cases fall in at 21 percent.
2. Personal Injury Case Filings Are Decreasing
From 2005 to 2014, case filings for auto injuries in the state of Wisconsin have been steadily decreasing. In 2005, there were over 4,800 personal injury auto cases filed. In 2014, the number of auto injury cases fell to just over 3,600. Figure 2 below shows the decreasing trend in personal injury lawsuits.
3. Product Liability Case Fillings Are Decreasing
From 2005 to 2014, case filings in Wisconsin for product liability cases are decreasing, as well. The number of filed cases went down from 109 in 2005 to just 48 in 2014. Figure 3 shows the substantial decrease in product liability cases over the past 10 years.
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