5 Common Misconceptions People Have on Tort Law

Tort Law

Tort law applies to civil cases, except contract disputes. The term is often used when discussing personal injury lawsuits, as tort law deals with monetary compensation for someone who had an injury or loss. Tort law covers negligence, liability, and intentional harm. Misconceptions about tort law include:

1. You Could Bankrupt a Person

It’s common for people to think twice about seeing a lawyer because the party responsible for their injury or loss is a friend, neighbor, or relative. If you receive an award, the party’s insurance company will pay it in most cases, not them. Their insurance premiums will very likely rise, but you won’t bankrupt them. Don’t let guilt keep you from receiving the compensation you deserve.

2. I Don’t Need a Lawyer

Individuals may feel they don’t need an attorney experienced in tort law. An insurance company representative is offering a quick settlement right away, so you can pay your bills. It may be tempting to take the offer, but the insurance company is only interested in paying you as little as possible. It won’t hurt to talk to an attorney who can point out factors you may not have considered, such as future medical bills or pain and suffering.

3. People with Minor Injuries Get Big Awards

Remember the woman who sued McDonald’s when she was burnt by a cup of their coffee? The press ran with the story, but they rarely mentioned that she had major injuries. The woman had third-degree burns, needed skin graft, and had scarring. It came out that hundreds of people were burned by McDonald’s coffee, which was served extremely hot, between 180 and 190 degrees. Knowing this, the corporation made no plans to lower the temperature of the coffee or provide warnings to customers to let the coffee cool down before drinking it.

4. Juries Award Out-of-Control Settlements

Juries sometimes give huge awards to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. These large awards receive lots of press coverage, but judges often reduce the amount of the reward. While three-quarters of awards are not reduced by judges, judges will reduce extremely high awards. Johnson and Johnson were ordered to pay a $4.69 billion award in a baby powder case where the baby powder was alleged to cause cancer, but a judge cut the reward in half.

5. I Will Have to Go to Court if I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Some people do not want to testify in court, fearing they will be grilled by the defense lawyers. In reality, most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. Attorneys will do their best to get an insurance company to offer a fair and just settlement to their clients. Insurance companies usually will cooperate as they don’t want to leave an up to a sympathetic jury. In some cases, the defense wants to keep the plaintiff’s injury from becoming public knowledge, which it would if a trial is held. Most corporations would prefer to fix the problem quietly and not hurt their public image.

Volodymyr Sava
Volodymyr Sava is a professional writer. He has the Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking. His writing is mind-blowing.

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