Are We Making a Mockery of the Personal Injury Law?

Trust humankind to misuse and abuse a law that has been introduced to protect those who have been wronged – the personal injury law has been mocked, abused and misused to the maximum, and it continues to be used for reasons that you thought couldn’t get more ridiculous. I wouldn’t blame the personal injury lawyers for this mess and misuse of the system; rather, it’s the greedy plaintiffs who think they can bilk some large corporate for a random sum of money because they were stupid enough to spill hot coffee on themselves, and the juries who are dumb enough to award such ridiculously large sums of money for the stupidest of reasons who must be held responsible.

And just when you thought that things couldn’t get worse, we hear that Councilwoman and attorney Letitia James has filed a personal injury case against David Day, an itinerant worker, because she walked into his parked car and supposedly injured her leg. Since when did it become legal or even normal for people to sue others because they were not watching where they were going? How blind do you have to be if you cannot see a trailer hitch protruding from the end of a car? And how greedy can you be that you have to sue a worker who is much poorer than you because you walked into his trailer?

From the gist of her court filings, it would appear that Councilwoman James has suffered grievous injuries – “serious, severe and permanent injuries to her limbs and body”. But what does she think she’s going to gain through this case? If she wins, how will Day pay the damages the jury awards? It’s one thing to sue a corporation that has tons of money and quite another to file a personal injury case against a worker who probably does not own much more than the car and the trailer that was responsible for this whole fracas.

The personal injury law has become the laughing stock of the entire legal community – with every Tom, Dick and Harry believing they can sue just about anybody for just about anything, simply because more than one case has set the precedent, it’s the courts’ time and resources that are being wasted. There are much more serious issues that need to be dealt with by the legal system and people who are really in need of the personal injury law because they have genuinely been wronged and must be compensated for the neglect on the part of their employers or others. But if this mockery continues, then even genuine cases are going to be treated frivolously and not given their due.