So You Want to Win the “Lawsuit Lottery”?

 

The following is a guest post by our blogging friend Gene M. If you are interested in guest posting, please see our guest posting guidelines.

 

So You Want to Win the "Lawsuit Lottery"?As a naïve kid, I dreamed about becoming rich by winning a lottery. When that dream vanished after a series of failed scratch-off tickets, my focus shifted on making quick, easy money.

It’s too bad I wasn’t born into it like a Lannister. The thought of inheriting family’s wealth had lingered in my mind ever since I was old enough to understand what inheritance meant.

“Oh well,” I thought. “There must be other ways to become rich fast.”

Let’s see, what else can I try here?

 

Quick Ways to Riches

 

  • Inheritance – darn it, I blame my parents and their parents for not making me filthy rich.
  • Win a lottery – with my luck I might as well throw that money away.
  • Count cards in blackjack – forget it.
  • Marry into it – I love my wife, but she’s no millionaire.
  • Reach for the stars, design the next Facebook – who am I kidding here?

 

Is it possible that there is no quick way to riches?

But … wait… that’s it! Maybe I could get ran over by a truck and claim millions in punitive damages!

Seeing how people were winning millions from what must have been frivolous lawsuits, the thought lingered in my mind.

No, I wasn’t about to jump in front of a truck in hopes of surviving to win a miraculous trial and live rich for the rest of my life. But, the thought of others actually doing that made me wonder what it must feel like to make such decision.

It wasn’t until I began working at an actual law firm that I learned the harsh realities of so-called “lawsuit lottery.”

 

It’s Neither Quick or Easy

If you are “lucky” (should you consider yourself that) enough to win millions in the lawsuit lottery through an injury verdict, you can put a check mark next to every one of these items:

 

  • Survived a terrible accident.
  • … Make that barely survived a terrible accident.
  • Suffered insurmountable amount of pain, the type that no human being should ever experience.
  • Became disabled for the rest of your life by losing a limb, several limbs, became immobile through paralysis or worse.
  • Lost all ability to enjoy the things you used to enjoy in life.
  • Braved through a trial knowing that if your lawyer didn’t show just how gory your injuries are, you may get nothing. Zero.
  • Possibly waited through years of appeals when defense claimed your award to be outrageous and challenged it to a higher court.
  • Faced the possibility of that higher court reducing your award, increasing it or ordering a retrial.
  • Tried living a normal life while not knowing whether the retrial would pay for your mounting medical bills, or leave you homeless.

 

“Gee!” – I thought. “I’d rather take my chances with stupid tax #5.”

 

Pity, Not Envy

Today, whenever I hear of people winning multi-million dollar lawsuit verdicts in injury cases, I don’t think “Those lucky bastards!”

I shake my head and wonder what kind of suffering they had to endure, and just how sad it must feel to have all that money and not be able to enjoy it, or enjoy life for that matter.

 

Save More, Spend Less, Start Living

If there are other ways to become rich fast – I’m all ears. For now, I’ll spare myself the pain and agony of being disabled in pursuit of riches. Instead, I’ll follow advice of people like Holly and Greg – save more, spend less, get out of debt and start living.

Would you really like to win the lawsuit lottery? Is it worth it?

 

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Gene promotes personal safety on behalf of injury lawyer Vibhu Talwar. Contact him on twitter to guest post on your blog.

 

Comments

  1. Why not shoot for the stars. I think every one should at least give it a try. Ok, you may not create the next face book but you may create the next clubthrifty. If Holly and Greg dint try to shoot for the stars, we may not have such an awesome resource today.

    • I suppose it’s possible. After all, if people weren’t constantly reaching for the stars we’d have no innovation right? My thought was most likely fixed on the idea that only a few great stories such as that of Apple and Facebook come out of millions of ambitious minds out there. But who’s to say everyone wants to make the next Facebook or build a company like Apple. You make a good point Rohit.

  2. You would have to be pretty desperate to attempt to make money this way.
    Surely the risk of being seriously injured would outweigh the possible financial returns.

    • You’d be surprised! I was reading about how this was becoming a trend in one state to take advantage of insurance payouts. I thought to myself – a trend? Wow!

    • People are quite desperate these days. We may not feel it being cozy in our chairs, but some people out there will do anything in hopes of getting money out of nothing. The problem is, they often do crazy things like jumping out in front of cars without thinking through everything. Injuries, possible outcomes, illegality of this sort of thing. It’s crazy.

  3. Litigation frequently takes years rather than months to resolve. It is designed only to put you back into the same position you were in before the accident or mishap. Count me out!

  4. I’d have to echo James and Glen and say tht you’d have to count me out. The time it would take plus the likely injury on my part would not be worth it.

    • It’s a terrible thing to have to consider such actions in the first place. I can understand people being desperate for money, but to use your own body without knowing what might happen is just nuts. The big problem is that people hear the headlines of someone getting x amount of millions for an injury and think they can do the same. It’s called insurance fraud – it’s illegal and insane. Good call John.

  5. I have such mixed feelings on this as we’re in the middle of our own dispute with the woman who rear-ended me. I think she (or her insurance company) *should* have to compensate me for my medical bills that I will likely incur over the next 5-10 years as it can be that long or longer until my injury heals. (If it ever does…)

    • Did you ever contact an attorney? Most will answer your questions for free. If it isn’t too late, you should. There are time restraints on when the deadline is to take action – but you can find all of this from an attorney (depending on where you live).

  6. Great post ! It’s so true that these people really aren’t lucky ! Usually their million dollars means their husband/wife/child died in an accident, or something else awful. My friend in high school won a six-figure lawsuit because someone hit him with a car. He hurt his knee I think, was in a wheelchair for at least a few months in high school, and had multiple surgeries to correct the injury which I’m sure is NEVER going to be perfect. I doubt he can ever go running like I can. I don’t envy him at all.

    I still hate my parents for not being rich though. :P just kidding! I decided a long time ago I am happy I wasn’t born into wealth, because I doubt I’d be as hard of a worker if I was!

    • Gillian, I have a feeling you’re right that your friend will never heal perfectly and enjoy the same standard of living he was used to prior to the accident. This is almost always the case. We can’t put a dollar figure on happiness.

  7. I really don’t get jealous of those who win millions in lawsuits, because of the very reasons you just described. The process is probably grueling – I wouldn’t want to have to go through it not knowing whether I would be compensated, and most don’t. Thanks for shedding some light on a generally misunderstood topic!

  8. I was in a terrible accident once and by some sort of miracle walked away with just a minor concussion. My car basically smashed in half when I was rearended by a flat bed truck whose brakes failed (they estimated he was going about 50mph when he hit me). while I was just sitting at a stop light. I got real lucky that when I went through the intersection there was somehow no cross traffic (which NEVER happens at that intersection).

    In the end, even if I had sued and won (I would have won no problem) there was no way that guy was going to be able to pay me anything, he had nothing. I just count my blessings I walked away and my insurance company gave me a reasonable amount for my totally car. And if you are wondering, I still have the pictures to this day and was really glad I decided to drive instead of ride my motorcycle.

    • Brian, wow, you were really fortunate. I’m both amazed and happy that you’re alive! Unfortunately sometimes there is little an injured person can recover in terms of compensation from the driver of the opposite vehicle. If they have no assets there may not be anything to go after. Especially if they file for bankruptcy. However, many real cases that involve such accidents spur from auto defects or some other sort of defect where the driver is not the only person liable. When I started working at the law firm I realized that its ALWAYS best to call a lawyer if you’ve been in an accident. At the very least, you’ll get some advice on what you should do. Injury attorneys typically don’t charge for consultations because some cases are not worth anything like you say. They’ll listen to your situation and generally guide you without taking you on as a client. To me, this sort of free advice is much better than making my own assumptions about my injuries. Having learned this, I always advice my friends and family to follow this advice of contacting a lawyer. Even if there are no “millions” to be recovered you may still get more with help from an attorney than without (even after the legal fees – typically 30% for settling and 40% if the case goes to court).

  9. For every 1 idiot that somehow scores 1 million dollar because they spilled hot coffee on themselves their seems to be 100 people who suffer life altering injuries and don’t see a dime. It doesn’t seem right.

    • Mandy, I’m with you – it’s not right at all. Fortunately the coffee spill cases are few in a million. Once a precedent has been set by a judge on a highly publicized case – it is silly to try to argue against it.

  10. I have no interest in winning a lawsuit as that obviously means something terrible happened to you! On the flip side, my grandma just won $10,000 (two weeks ago) on a $20 scratch off. Needless to say she was ecstatic.

  11. I agree with you to some extent. While there are many that get the right amount of money for their suffering and injuries, there are many more that get money for just being stupid. Somehow stupid wins in most cases. Have you seen the labeling system these days? Everything requires multiple labels because of stupid people. It has become ridiculous.

    • Grayson, there’s no doubt some cases are stupid and frivolous and that few result in ridiculous payouts for no good reason at all. Believe it or not the labeling argument is highly disputed in the legal community. There is a lot of discussion on how far is too far when it comes to labeling and product warning, but to a person who buys products for consumption – I personally would choose 100 labels on my product box than not be warned whatsoever of a possible risk. This is a topic worth discussing in a 2000 word post to be honest, but you make a good point nevertheless.

  12. I hope I never see the inside of a courtroom other than for jury duty if I get called. I read an article about that model who walked into an airplane propeller and lost an eye and an arm. It said she got a settlement, but I bet she’d much rather have her vision and limb back if she could.

    • Omg, that’s terrible and unfortunate. I’m sure whatever compensation she got will never make it right. A model? Can’t model anywhere with one arm… Sad.

  13. We occasionally will buy a scratch-off ticket, just for fun. I think the most we’ve ever won is $5. But we aren’t serious about it. Even if it’s a dollar, I’m happy.

    • Although your odds are probably better at insurance fraud, I would definitely suggest buying a scratch-off ticket instead. It’s usually less painful, lol.

  14. Remember the infamous McDonald’s coffee suit? “Warning: Coffee May Be Hot.”

    I think sometimes people survive traumatic things, and they do deserve their day in court and proper compensation. But sometimes people are just major idiots and get a good enough lawyer to have someone else pay for their unfortunate amount of brain cells.

    • Yep, we all remember that one :) These sort of cases are the exact problem with laws sometimes. A few ridiculous lawsuits make all injury lawyers look like scumbags. In reality, even though injustice has been done, most lawyers really care for their clients. The place I work now has some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I had a very similar opinion about stupid lawsuits and the amount of money some people get by being involved with them, but when I hear about someone getting justly compensated for some terrible injury I just have to praise their lawyer for doing right by them. Seriously, they’re good folks.

  15. I would never wish for that. I think one thing that has happened is that we have become cynical about these cases because there are so many case you hear about in the news where people are just suing for stupid reasons. Where THEY have brought certain things upon themselves. Or even certain malpractice cases. It gives the people who really need it and deserve it a bad name.

    • Precisely! Such lawsuits overshadow important ones and are unfairly categorized by the public in the same category. Only when the tables turn that we can fully appreciate professional help from someone who cares about what’s going on with our lives. This is the reason I wanted to write about it, so that anyone who has a predisposed opinion on this issue can consider looking at it from a different perspective.

  16. Another way that is similar to suing for money is to attempt to get injured on the job and receive workman’s comp. A woman, who had a habit of getting injured on the job, walked in front of my father-in-law’s hi-lo. He hit her, but they had it on camera and it showed that she intentionally tried to get hit. (I guess there are sectioned off roads for the hi-los, to protect people).
    The lady lost her job and got sued because she wanted to make an “easy” buck.

    • Wow, crazy story Justin! She must have found it more satisfying to suffer in pain than to work continuously at one place of employment. I could never do anything like this. So much for an “easy” buck yeah?

  17. People purposefully jump in front of cars now? Pretty devious. What the ‘eff is wrong with people?

    • Wow, that’s crazy, I would not want to win the lawsuit lottery this way. I value health over anything (except for love maybe? Heheh cheescake.) Seriously, to throw yourself in front of a car – people must be very desperate to do something like this!

      • This was happening in 2008 when economy went into a slump. Its weird that this sort of activity might correlate to larger economic cycles, but there is evidence that it does.

    • There was an article in a newspaper (I can’t remember which) which discussed the issue of insurance fraud where people have been jumping out in front of unsuspecting cars in hopes of suing and getting away with large sums of money. It was a very interesting read.

  18. I can tell you that counting cards in blackjack is not an easy way to get rich for the average person. I can do it, quite well actually, but you need to have the means to risk a ton of money in order to win a ton of money. Plus, casinos these days have too many defense mechanisms to guard against card counters.

    I have no interest in winning a lawsuit lottery. Unless it is a lawsuit against casinos that crack down on card counters. Counting cards is neither cheating not illegal. Casinos just don’t like to lose the unfair advantage that they hold.

    As for getting rich quick. I absolutely believe in it and strive for it every day. Just not in a scheme-y our scam-y kind of way. I’ll let you know when I find something that works.

    • Cool beans, lol. I agree, that trying to scam or scheme your way to reaches is not a good idea. In court, even the righteous sometimes lose a deserving favorable judgement.

  19. I am Jane Park i do not think this is right or a good place for me to say this for sure i need to say it cause i made my promise that i will make this temple known once i win. I played the euromiliion lottery after i a get a post on the internet from Aleem Igbal who won the £22million that there is a temple where i can also be a millionaire at first i thought aleem was crazy but until i get my own £1m from the help of drsoula_b@live.com i never doubted voodoo but a strong believer, Term and condition are applied.

  20. Mario Sifuentes says:

    My friend online tips can not help you win the lottery the only help you need is dr. Soula with the email address drsoula_b@live.com. I saw people making good comment regarding how this man help poeople with the guarantee of 100% that you must win the lottery with the help of voodoo so i cross my heart and i give it a try, But believe my friend out there i never believe i will win, not until dr soula told me to go ahead and play the lottery and he gave me the winning numbers and i played the numbers and i won $50,000. I can never forget this. Big thanks to dr. Soula he is the only help you need to win this lottery

  21. Heim B says:

    I recently discover that winning the lottery is easy, Get to know the right person to help you win is what makes it easy. I am Brian Heim from Las Cruces, New Mexico, And this is my testimony. I have been playing lottery for years and i have never won a demn until i was going through the internet and i saw a post on a blog where someone said he used the help of a voodoo Doc called Dr. Soula, who helped him win the mega million lottery!!! I decide to give it a try by contacting the Doc on the email drsoula_b@live. com. I was not sure of it because everything was so fast, He did his thing and gave me the winning numbers for the lottery. I won $1million it was like a dream that within 4day i won the lottery, After all this years of buying ticket without winning. I am still dreaming

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