Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Pending Federal Legislation That Could Affect Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by Chris Thayer

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed two bills that could affect personal injury litigants if also passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

One is the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, which requires federal judges to impose penalties on plaintiffs who bring frivolous lawsuits. While it doesn’t change the standard that judges use to determine whether a lawsuit is frivolous, it eliminates the plaintiff’s ability to avoid sanctions by voluntarily withdrawing his or claim within 21 days.

A lawsuit is considered frivolous if it was filed with the intention of harassing the party against whom the lawsuit is filed. It may also be considered frivolous if the plaintiff knows there was little or no chance that the lawsuit will succeed.

While proponents of the bill argue that reducing frivolous litigation will eliminate the overburdened federal judiciary, opponents contend that the bill isn’t necessary.

If the bill becomes law, it will not affect litigation in state courts. But Seattle residents pursuing personal injury claims might bring their claims in federal court, particularly if they are claims are against an out-of-state resident. It is imperative that any person pursuing a personal injury lawsuit consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that they are bringing a viable and not a frivolous claim.

The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017

The second bill is the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, which would make it more difficult for plaintiffs to file class actions in federal court. Any individual who wants to join the class action would have to prove that he or she suffered the same type and the same extent of personal injury or economic group that the lead plaintiff suffered.

Opponents argue that the bill violates the constitutional separation of powers by impeding on courts’ ability to determine their own rules and procedures. They also argue that the bill erodes the fairness of the class action process.

If this bill becomes law, it could affect personal injury class lawsuits, which often arise when something happens that injures multiple people at the same time (like a defective product). Making all class action members prove that they’ve effectively suffered the same injury would make it difficult for everyone to receive the compensation that they deserve. If the bill becomes law, it might be more difficult for class action lawsuits to succeed and would-be class members might have to bring individual personal injury lawsuits.

Contact Us Today

If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, the last thing you need to worry about is legal procedure. The Pivotal Law Group stays abreast of the latest developments in judicial rules and procedures and will ensure that you file a viable personal injury claim that won’t get you into trouble. (We will also make sure that your claim is filed in the proper court.) Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.