Research by Console and Associates Gives a Glimpse Into Public Perceptions of Lawsuits

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Newly Released Survey Data Explores When and Why People Sue – and Whether They’d Make Moral Compromises for Monetary Gain

What motivates people to sue someone? Where does the American public draw the line between what’s a justified reason for suing and what’s a frivolous one? And how many people are looking for a lawsuit to such a degree that they’d lie or cheat to make it happen? To find out, personal injury law firm Console and Associates surveyed more than 1,000 men and women across the United States, seeking answers from people of all ages, income levels and geographical locations.

The answers are encapsulated in Public Perceptions on Lawsuits, the second post in a three-part series based on the eye-opening data drawn from the survey. This post delves into the answers to questions about suing in general, suing a family member, and whether individuals would take dishonest actions to get a payout. (View the full post and data set here:

It might not be a surprise that more than 95 percent of respondents would consider suing someone, but what is surprising is the array of radically different motivations people have for suing. More than half of the respondents would only sue if “absolutely necessary,” but nearly 1 in 10 would sue for simply feeling “wronged.”

Nearly half of respondents said they would never, under any circumstances, sue a friend or family member, even if they were severely injured and the insurance company would be the one footing the bill. Collectively, around 11 percent of survey participants indicated that they would file a lawsuit primarily because they “want money,” for revenge, or because they don’t like insurance companies. Finally, almost 20 percent of respondents said they would do something shady – from exaggerating an injury to intentionally causing an accident – for $100,000.

“We’ve learned a lot from this survey data – some of it good, some of it surprising,” said Richard P. Console Jr., founder and managing attorney of Console and Associates. “Most people will sue someone only when necessary. Most people aren’t sellouts and won’t do something dishonest just to get an insurance settlement. For the most part, what we’ve seen in the data aligns with our own anecdotal experience with our clients. That really reaffirms my faith in humanity.”

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Richard Console
since: 04/2011
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