When Does It Make Good Sense to Be Sued?

No one wants to be sued. Most people don't even want to be the ones suing. If you're with the majority, you probably think that we live in a society that is too quick to sue. That's a common misconception.

Would you think me an unscrupulous attorney if I told you that I have been involved in cases where I represent someone against their own mother?

Usually being sued is not pleasant. It means you have too choose between showing up and offering a defense or doing nothing and losing the case by default. If you do defend yourself, typically you have to either wade through a complex legal world on your own or you have to pay a lot of money to an attorney to do it for you.

If you do defend yourself, the outcome is almost never going to be what you want it to be. You may lose and have to pay the plaintiff (on top of what you've already paid your attorney), and perhaps pay the plaintiff's attorney, too. You may win part of it and lose part of it, which result could be worse, but you've still had to pay your attorney to get there. You may win, but again, you've still had to pay your attorney a lot of money for the win. Or you might even win and get attorney's fees awarded, but be going against a plaintiff who has no money and has no way to pay for your attorney. Only rarely would you win, get your attorney's fees awarded, and collect.

In the end, as a defendant, sometimes it is true that only your attorney wins.

This scenario changes when you have an insurance policy that provides defense costs. For example, if you are sued for professional negligence (malpractice), your insurance company will hire you an attorney to defend you. This takes much of the sting out of being a defendant, because at least you're not directly funding your defense, but it's still stressful to have to endure a lawsuit.

So why would anyone ever want to be sued?

There's only one scenario I've witnessed where this is true.

If you are a passenger in a vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle causes a wreck, and you're injured, you have a right to have the driver's insurance compensate you for your losses. That includes medical bills, money lost from missing work, even the pain you've had to endure.

Suppose that you make a claim against the driver's insurance company, but the insurance company for whatever reason either doesn't want to pay or isn't willing to make a fair payment. Your only recourse is to hold them accountable through a lawsuit. Except you can't sue the insurance company directly (not in Nevada, anyway), so your only option is to sue the driver.

Once you sue the driver, the driver's insurance company has to hire an attorney to defend the driver, and then you either negotiate payment or go to trial.

In cases like this, often the driver is just as frustrated as the injured passenger that the insurance company is not paying.

If you were the driver, and it was your child in the passenger seat who was injured, wouldn't you want your insurance company to pay for the losses? Isn't that why you purchase insurance? (Other than it being legally required, of course.)

So yes, I have helped someone make a claim against their mother, and we had their mother's blessing to do it.

If you think that's a little weird, I can't disagree. But what's even weirder is a case in Utah where a woman sued herself for the same reason, and the court said there was nothing wrong with that.