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How Do I Know If I Have a Frivolous Lawsuit?

Posted on in Personal Injury

California accident lawyer, California injury attorneySometimes personal injury attorneys are asked about “frivolous lawsuits.” While there are some cases which should never be brought, many times if you have been in an accident in which you were not at fault, you have a valid lawsuit.

Malicious Prosecution

If a lawsuit is frivolous and is nonetheless filed, the party who filed may be subject to a separate lawsuit for malicious prosecution. To prove malicious prosecution, the defendant in the frivolous lawsuit must prove that the suit was brought without probable cause and with malice.

Probable cause will exist if the plaintiff had an honest belief based on facts that grounds existed for the claims that were brought. Malice is proven by showing ill will or improper purpose.

Lawsuits for malicious prosecution are disfavored because they can create a chilling effect that would infringe upon the right to file a lawsuit. So long as bringing your case will not draw a malicious prosecution lawsuit, typically your claim will not be considered frivolous.

Tort Reform

Tort reform has become a buzzword in the past few years for the effort to reduce the amount of money injured people can recover. Proponents of tort reform argue that large judgments are difficult for businesses (or insurance companies) to pay, which results in higher costs for everyone and could shut down businesses.

The main way tort reform is implemented is by putting damage caps into place. California has damage caps in medical malpractice claims for “non-economic” damages. This class of damages is capped at $250,000. This means that while any necessary medical care stemming from the medical malpractice will be awarded, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering cannot be compensated by more than $250,000.

Personal injury lawyers are opposed to tort reform. They have seen numerous cases where an accident victim has sustained serious non-economic damages that should be compensated with more than $250,000.

The discussion of tort reform is another reason why some accident victims mistakenly believe that their case is frivolous.

Contact a San Jose, CA Personal Injury Attorney

The best way to determine if your personal injury lawsuit is frivolous is to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. An attorney will be able to review your case and discuss it with you.

Also, attorneys are bound by ethics regulations to only file non-frivolous lawsuits. Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.1 provides that a lawyer cannot file a suit unless there is a “basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.” Thus, if a well-regarded personal injury lawyer accepts your case, it is a good sign that the case is not frivolous.

The skilled San Jose personal injury lawyers at Jachimowicz Law Group provide free consultations for those who have been injured in accidents. Call our firm at 408-246-5500 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced attorneys.

 

Sources:

http://www.cmanet.org/issues-and-advocacy/cmas-top-issues/micra/micra-a-brief-history/

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_3_1_meritorious_claims_contentions.html

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