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The Tort Reform Lie

Tort Reform ads are once again appearing on the radio and news. The argument is that we need to limit damages to protect nursing homes and doctors and lower costs. Texas passed limitations on damages years ago and I have yet to see costs go down. The tort reform crowd argues that damages should be limited to prevent frivolous lawsuits. That is a just a lie. The only time the limitation applies is after a case has been tried and a jury has determined not only that there was negligence on the the part of the nursing home or doctor, that their actions harmed the plaintiff and the damages are in excess of $250,000.00. The effect of the tort reform is to allow those who have already been found to have harmed someone to only pay for a part of their harm. This is after the plaintiff has provided expert reports and had a judge rule that there was enough credible evidence to even get to trial. The truly frivolous lawsuits are thrown out at the first step when the judge determines there is no credible expert opinion to support the claims. Tort Reform is simply an excuse to escape taking responsibility for the actions which hurt others.

  1. Mark Baird
    October 12, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Judges have more knowledge of the civil jury system than anyone.
    In a recent survey:

    * Ninety-one percent believe the system is in good condition
    needing, at best, only minor work.
    * Only 1 percent of the judges who responded gave the jury
    system low marks.
    * Judges have great faith in juries to solve complicated
    * Ninety-six percent said they agree with jury verdicts most
    or all of the time.
    * Nine of 10 judges said jurors show considerable understanding
    of legal issues involved in the cases they hear.

    85 percent of all people say we need tort reform but if these people are part of the jury system then why do they not be more fair in their judgments. Maybe because tort reform is a lot of hype from the chamber of commerce.

  2. Mark Baird
    October 12, 2009 at 3:14 am

    According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail.

    Of that 1 to 1.5 percent what portion of that is “frivolous”?

    http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf (Page 10)

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