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U.S. lawsuit costs rose 2.1 percent in 2007, will jump 4 percent this year and the sour economy will push the upward trend through 2010, according to a study by Towers Perrin consulting firm.

Last year’s increase was attributed to a rise in personal injury cases mostly from automobile accidents–the first increase since 1999. The auto property damage frequency index, based on insurance industry figures, was 0.897 last year compared with 0.891 for 2006.

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