According to the Court Statistics Project, civil lawsuits are dropping across the country. The Illinois Trial Lawyer Association cited that statistic as well as another statistic specifically focusing on the the drop of civil lawsuits in Illinois. The statistics are between the years 2010-2014. Some of the eye popping stats are tort cases dropping seven percent nationwide. Tort filings dropped 25 percent in the last decade. In Illinois, the number of civil cases dropped 33 percent between 2010 and 2014.
Civil lawsuits are ways the general public can remedy a wrong through the legal system. Class action lawsuits regarding pharmaceuticals, dangerous products, even the water we drink have all been improved by the actions some people take in court. It’s a bad sign if civil lawsuits are dropping because it could be mean people are not pursuing legal remedies for issues they are facing. But, there could be a lot of reasons why the lawsuits are dropping perhaps the cases are weak, the cost of litigation is too high, the plaintiffs have not found willing plaintiffs’ attorneys that are going to take the case. Whatever the situation, if this trend continues it could embolden defendants to do or continue bad actions because they know they will not suffer the consequences.
In addition to making a complaint public, civil lawsuits serve a purpose as part of the legal process to remedy a wrong and be compensated for suffering. They also serve as warnings to other companies engaged in similar actions that they may face the possibility of lawsuit. Civil lawsuits is a vital part of the legal ecosystem and for that system to work, it has to maintain its importance in that system.