Every year during the month of October, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch sets aside a week dedicated to creating public awareness about the very serious issue of lawsuit abuse in Illinois. “Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week” is an opportunity to educate citizens about the tremendous economic and social cost we all pay as the result of personal injury lawyers who game the state’s legal system to try to hit the “lawsuit lottery.”
Illinois is plagued by an epidemic of lawsuit abuse that hinders job growth and clogs our courts. Personal injury lawyers have turned the ‘Land of Lincoln’ into the ‘Land of Lawsuits. They flock to Illinois to file their frivolous lawsuits in our state’s notoriously plaintiff-friendly courts, and as a result, Illinois businesses are leaving Illinois.
Illinois was recently ranked the fifth-worst state in the country for lawsuit abuse by the respected non-partisan research company Harris Interactive and is often labeled the “Lawsuit Abuse Capital of the Midwest.”
The theme of this year’s “Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week” is “Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You,” and I-LAW will be encouraging individuals to serve on juries, take personal responsibility and become smart legal consumers.
While our legislators should move quickly to pass common sense legal reforms that will restore fairness to Illinois courts, you can’t legislate personal responsibility. It’s up to us to be smart legal consumers, to show up for jury service and to do all that we can ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.
If each citizen would take personal responsibility for his or her own actions, it would go a long way to curbing lawsuit abuse. It starts with each one of us working to solve our problems instead of filing lawsuits and taking the time to serve on juries instead of looking for a way out when that jury summons comes in the mail.”
Whenever we avoid jury service or joke about filing a lawsuit over some silly thing, it sends the message that frivolous lawsuits are acceptable.
Dozens of mayors across Illinois have issued official proclamations declaring October 7-11 “Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week” and are joining with I-LAW to encourage citizens to do their part to stop lawsuit abuse in Illinois.
These mayors are saying being ranked the fifth worst state in the country for lawsuit abuse makes it harder for them to attract employers and the jobs they would bring to Illinois. The mayors are urging their constituents to get involved because they can make a difference in the fight to stop lawsuit abuse and create jobs.
Legislators and judges should do their part to stop lawsuit abuse, but so should we.
For more information about “Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week” and the “Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You,” initiative, visit www.ILLawsuitAbuseWatch.org.
Travis Akin is executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch.