Court Statistics Reveal Civil Lawsuit Filings are Dropping
Public disinformation campaigns concocted by front groups for insurance companies and powerful corporations are designed to stoke prejudice and fear, and warp public understanding of how our civil justice system works. By manufacturing a mythical “lawsuit crisis,” they are trying to pressure policymakers into shielding wrongdoers from financial liability when their dangerous actions harm innocent people. The numbers prove there is no litigation crisis in our state or our country.
Civil Lawsuit Filings are Dropping Significantly in Illinois:
- Civil case filings in Illinois have dropped 47 percent since 2010.1
- The number of medical malpractice cases filed in Illinois is down 30 percent since 2003.2
- The number of civil cases filed in Cook County dropped 55 percent from 2010 to 2016.3
- The number of asbestos lawsuits filed in Madison County has declined 27 percent since 2013.4
Civil Lawsuit Filings are Dropping Across the Nation:
- Between 2007 and 2016, civil caseloads in state courts fell 16 percent.5
- Contract cases (predominately businesses suing businesses or other people for money) made up 47 percent of civil caseloads in state courts in 2016.6
- Tort cases consist of roughly 4 percent of all civil caseloads.7
- Medical malpractice cases make up only 4 percent of tort cases, or about 0.2 percent of the overall civil caseload.8
1 “Annual Report of the Illinois Courts, Statistical Summary,” 2010 to 2016, http://illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/AnnReport.asp
2 “Collar County Medical Malpractice New Suits,” Law Bulletin Publishing Company, reflecting filings through 2017 in 20 Illinois counties including: Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kendall, Kane, Madison, St. Clair and Will.
3 “Annual Report of the Illinois Courts, Statistical Summary,” 2010 to 2016, http://illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/AnnReport.asp
4 “Madison County asbestos filings total 1,224; Only 6 percent filed on behalf of Illinois residents.” Madison County Record. March 23, 2016.
5 National Center for State Courts, “Incoming Non-Traffic Caseloads by Case Category, 2007-2016,” http://www.courtstatistics.org/Civil/~/media//F0CD3650C3984BE394C222FBEF9CD73F.ashx
6 This percentage comes from NCSC’s examination of statewide civil caseload composition in 26 states. National Center for State Courts, “Statewide Civil Caseload Composition in 26 States, 2016,
7 National Center for State Courts, “2016 Civil Caseloads – Trial Courts: 2016 Statewide Tort Caseloads and Rates,” http://www.ncsc.org/Sitecore/Content/Microsites/PopUp/Home/CSP/CSP_Civil
PDF Fact Sheet: Court Statistics Reveal Civil Lawsuit Filings are Dropping