Court releases Annual Report with data on personal injury filings
Insurance companies have repeatedly sought legal "reforms" to eliminate "frivolous" personal injury claims. Unfortunately, they have created a public [mis-]perception of the so-called "tort" system that is 180 degrees from reality. While many reasonably informed people believe that injury cases are a major burden on the court system, reality confirms they are not: criminal, domestic and business claims dominate our courts and insurers pretty much get a free ride.
The 2010 Annual Report shows that 2.4 percent of the filings in the 13th Circuit Court (Antrim, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties) were automobile negligence. That number includes cases brought by injury victims or health care providers whose medical expenses or wage loss had been discontinued or were unpaid by the victim's own No Fault PIP insurer. 1.8 percent of the Court's new filings fell in to the category of "other civil damage claims," which category includes, for example, all products liabilty, dramshop, medical malpractice, and property damage claims.
This is not a new trend: the local court has published similar figures in its past reports. Numbers for the state-wide court system are similar, if slightly higher: 3.56% auto cases and 1.85% "other."
State-wide, criminal cases added up to about 20% of the docket. Juvenile claims were another 20%, and divorce was about 16% of the docket. Paternity cases (6.14%) out-numbered injury cases of all types. Local numbers were similar, but with divorce actions being more common (21%) and criminal actions less common (11%).