|Americans should be aware that "lawsuit hell" doesn't affect just those who are sued--excessive lawsuits and fear of litigation impacts the daily life of every citizen.
A recent study estimates that every U.S. citizen spends an extra $721 per year to cover the cost of lawsuits. But we each lose more than money to lawsuit abuse. Accessible, affordable health care disappears as doctors curb or shutter their practices. Potentially lifesaving drugs are kept off the market because pharmaceutical companies curtail research. And when new medications are approved, doctors hesitate to prescribe them.
Small business owners fear that one claim, even the wackiest of lawsuits, could drive them out of business and throw their employees out of work. Employees--if they aren't concerned about possibly losing their jobs--fear their health-insurance benefits will disappear, shrink or require them to pick up more of the cost.
While legislation has offered some relief to the abuse of our civil-justice system, true reform won't happen until people start taking personal responsibility for their actions and stop using lawsuits as a way to solve every problem.
Bill Summers, President
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse
January 12 edition, Newsweek