LAWYERS' SUIT ON NO-FAULT GETS BLASTED

LAWYERS' SUIT ON NO-FAULT GETS BLASTED

The leaders of a no-fault ballot initiative aimed at curbing spiraling auto insurance rates Monday called the California Trial Lawyers Association's court action against the November initiative an unfortunate and unfounded nuisance lawsuit.

John Crosby, executive vice president of the Insurance Industry Initiative Campaign Committee, sponsor of the no-fault initiative, said, It's an unjustifiable action that mirrors the thousands of nuisance auto accident cases clogging our court system.The lawyers group is looking for any avenue to attack our reform initiative because it addresses one of the key causes driving up auto insurance, the high cost of lawyers and lawsuits, Mr. Crosby said. When 52 cents out of every insurance dollar contested in court goes to lawyers and court costs, we clearly need reform.

Mr. Crosby cited figures showing that:

* In 1986, lawsuits filed in auto accident cases increased 29 percent statewide and 47 percent in Los Angeles County alone;

* The number of motor vehicle lawsuits grew 29 percent in California in 1986, even though the number of registered motor vehicles increased only by 4 percent and the number of licensed drivers grew by 2.8 percent;

* When an auto accident case finally does go to trial, the average cost to taxpayers is $2,700 per day.