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[Editor’s note: For Part 1 of this article, please click here]

This is a continuing series of lawsuit abuse discussions that take the form of frivolous legal defense costs when frivolous defenses are filed by corporate lawyers and insurance companies against consumers who have valid lawsuits such as catastrophic or serious injuries. There are many civil injury lawsuits on behalf of consumers that suffer catastrophic injuries, or even a needless death, and when these are caused by a clearly defective product, or a careless act by a corporation in violation of regulations, the law places liability and corporate responsibility on the offenders. No one should needlessly suffer an injury which can be easily prevented by workplace or product safety measures.

Is it a frivolous lawsuit defense when an insurance company or corporate lawyer fights a consumer’s injury lawsuit for many months and years filing reams of paper work when the corporation and insurance company knows that it’s just a matter of how much they will have to pay the injured person or the family for the death of a loved one? There can be no more serious lawsuit than suing to recover for the loss of life of a family member and it can be infuriating when the family members know that if a company or its employee had merely taken simple safety steps, the loved one would never have died.

This is the essence of our civil lawsuit system. This system allows for wrongful death claims, or for personal injury lawsuits where a company or its employee makes a serious careless act, or where a company consciously continues to sell a product that it knows has safety defects.

Almost all consumer surveys show strong support for the right to recover for these needless, avoidable personal injuries or wrongful deaths.

Why then does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce run television advertisements blaming the civil justice system for what it calls lawsuit abuse? Well, if you are a consumer, you should simply follow the money trail and understand that these corporations and insurance companies are funneling millions of dollars for the television advertisements to try to hoodwink consumers into basically selling away their own rights. What is the goal of the lawsuit abuse television advertisement program around the country? Check out what had to say about these lawsuit abuse advertisements.

The obvious answer is that these insurance companies and big corporations want to subconsciously influence (“brainwash”) every consumer and businessperson in case they ever serve on a jury. That is, they want you – the consumer – to walk into a courtroom if you ever serve on a jury, and do what? Are they saying that you should not grant fair compensation to those persons suffering serious injury or wrongful death? Are you willing to fall for any argument that would let a company get away with a conscious disregard of safety? In fact, the television ads send you to a web site which highlights a very few extreme cases, to try to convince you – the consumer – that injury and wrongful death lawsuits are somehow all invalid in the United States.

I personally know many people who are in all kinds of businesses: medical professionals, business executives, professional friends, and even individuals that run corporations who had to deal with a family member who suffered a catastrophic injury, or even died due to an unsafe act by a different company. The civil justice system is supposed to be a level playing field, and every other type of business or profession should be held to basic safety standards to prevent injuries and deaths in the workplace or in any public activity.

Lawsuit abuse can take many forms-and insurance defense attorney tactics are more widespread than any occasional "frivolous" lawsuit. Don’t be fooled by the man behind the curtain on this one.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

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