Thomas Russell, ‘Car Crashes, Personal Injury Litigation, and Frivolous Defenses in Alberta and Colorado’

This Article is a comparative empirical study of car crash litigation in Alberta, Canada and Colorado, USA.

The first part of the Article compares the rates of car crash injuries and litigation between Alberta and Colorado. The Article assembles data for what sociolegal scholars typically call the dispute pyramid, but I argued that a salmon run is a better metaphor for the winnowing of injuries through lumping, claiming, settling, and litigating.

The Article shows that Albertans have a safer driving culture than do Coloradans. Surprisingly, the data also show that Albertans file car crash lawsuits much more frequently than Coloradans, notwithstanding the American reputation for litigiousness. I suggest that something within the settlement of property damage only cases likely accounts for the difference.

The second part of the article presents a summary of empirical data and argument concerning the pleading of frivolous defenses by American insurance defense lawyers. I compare the pleading of these defenses to the Alberta Rules of Court.

I am especially interested in hearing from Alberta and Canadian lawyers regarding differences between the Canadian tort system and that of the United States.

Russell, Thomas David, Car Crashes, Personal Injury Litigation, and Frivolous Defenses in Alberta and Colorado (June 28, 2021). Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, The Barrister, (2021, forthcoming).

First posted 2021-07-09 14:40:38

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