Civil Justice System Protects People’s Rights

This segment of The Law and You gives insight and context to the often shrill claim that we are a lawsuit-crazed society, pointing out that the number of lawsuits has been decreasing over time and the criticism about huge jury awards has been overblown.


JOEL: This is Joel Block for The Law and You with Eugene attorney Don Corson. Don, most of us have little experience with our civil justice system, but we hear that we are a lawsuit crazed society.

DON: Well, actually the number of lawsuits is decreasing. The courts protect people’s rights through our existing laws and resolve disputes in a civilized way. In Colonial America, people used the courts frequently, for all kinds of disputes. Today, there are fewer cases on average than then. For example, in the federal courts, the number of personal injury trials has gone down 79% since 1985.

JOEL: But what about the reputation juries have of sometimes giving huge verdicts?

DON: Juries are usually more conservative than judges. In my entire career, insurance companies always take a jury over a judge. The occasional larger verdict is almost always for a catastrophic loss, like paralysis.

JOEL: Thanks, Don. Learn more at The Law and You is part of Corson & Johnson’s work to make communities safer.

The Corson & Johnson Law Firm, an Oregon personal injury trial law firm, produced and distributed The Law and You as a public service to help families and consumers answer questions about our legal system and how it works for them. The Law and You spots were aired on KKNU, KMGE, KEUG, and KODZ.  Please note that laws may have changed since a public service spot was aired.  If you have suggestions for legal questions or topics you would like addressed, please contact us.