Justice report finds personal injury trials down 80%




Justice report finds personal injury trials down 80%

A Justice Department report said the number of personal injury cases decided by a trial in federal courts has declined by almost 80 percent since 1985 as more suits have been settled. 

In 2003, the most recent year included in the study, there were 768 trials compared to 3,604 in 1985.  Over the 33 years included in the study, the annual number of personal injury cases in the federal court system varied.

The report is the first to review trends in federal court tort litigation over three decades, which will help with the debate regarding civil litigation in the U.S., according to a Justice Department statistician who wrote the study, Thomas Cohen.

The report reviewed litigation trends since 1970, looking at cases completed after jury or bench trials in 2002 and 2003.  President Bush’s administration has made curbing personal injury suits a priority, and Bush signed a law in February requiring trial lawyer to file the biggest class action suits in federal courts rather than in state jurisdictions.

Currently, bills are pending in Congress to cap medical malpractice awards and create a $140 billion fund for asbestos exposure victims to end litigation.  Efforts to cap awards have been the source of great controversy and debate with consumer groups arguing citizens’ rights are unfairly limited.   


 

 

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