Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Myth Of Tort Reform: Taking away David's sling

CASD strongly opposes arbitrary attempts to limit tort remedies or consumers' access to the courts -- misleadingly labeled "tort reform". A person or industry which does something wrong should be held accountable for those actions.

The term "tort reform" is used for the proposition that there are too many lawsuits filed by consumers for the wrongs (torts) done by others which caused them injury. Using inflammatory and misleading terms like "jackpot justice" and "shakedown lawsuits," insurance companies and other big businesses spend millions of dollars on propaganda to convince the public there are too many lawsuits and that they are driving up the cost of medical care, increasing the price of products and insurance, clogging up the courts and creating a drag on the economy. These "tort reformers" want to protect the wrongdoers from responsibility for the harm they cause.

The greatest myth of all is that consumer lawsuits are tying up our courts and huge verdicts are hurting the economy. Most civil court filings involve family law disputes. The non-partisan Center for State Courts reports that tort claims account for only between 5 and 7% of all lawsuits in state courts. Tort law is good for consumers and leads to better business practices -- it provides consumers with the right to be financially reimbursed for injury or death caused by dangerous products or below-standard services. We must be able to hold wrongdoers, individual or corporate, accountable for the injuries they cause. The civil justice system is the only way to achieve this goal.

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