The myth of the so-called “professional plaintiff” has been pushed by certain interest groups intent on tort reform legislation, which ultimately harms those who most need relief.
It’s not that auto insurance fraud is an impossibility or never-event, but it’s far less common than defense attorneys and some others would have you believe. Unfortunately, sometimes this misconception has a real impact on actual victims.
Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s judgment in favor of a car accident defendant whose attorneys repeatedly raised the question of a plaintiff’s “motive” for filing the claim in the first place, repeatedly insinuating – despite a lack of conviction or even formal accusation – that plaintiff had committed workers’ compensation insurance fraud. The state high court ruled the “plaintiff’s motives for bringing suit were irrelevant to the merits of her claim and her credibility as a witness.” At minimum, the trial court in the case should have granted the plaintiff’s requested jury instruction underscoring the fact that her motivation for filing the lawsuit was barred from jurors’ consideration. What matters, ultimately, is the merits of the claim.
An experienced injury lawyer who routinely handles car accident cases understands the damage these kinds of insinuations can have on a jury, and also how to effectively challenge them. Continue reading →