Tort reform is a subject that raises a lot of questions and causes quite a bit of controversy. There are two sides to this issue and each side is very adamant about their position. Before you can decide for yourself if tort reform is required, you need to understand what it would entail and what it is intended to achieve.
Like many issues, there are two conflicting sides to tort reform. Deciding if tort reform is necessary or not, is not quite as straightforward as one would think. However, if you weigh the pros and cons of tort reform against one another, you will begin to form an opinion that is based on the facts. Why not take a closer look at both sides and see where you agree?
What Are the Pros of Tort Reform?
1. Less Court Costs
Right now, the court systems spend a lot of money on personal injury lawsuits. By changing the current tort laws it will lessen the amount of lawsuits that qualify and greatly reduce the amount that courts must spend hearing tort cases. Many feel that the courts should be hearing more important cases instead of frivolous tort cases. Saving the courts time and money is what tort reform is looking to achieve. Most tort cases are defined by many as frivolous and should not qualify if there are changes made to current tort laws.
2. Juries Can be Better Used
Juries will then only be used on cases that have real importance and will not have to be wasted on tort cases. Tort reform will substantially reduce the amount of tort cases that the court sees and the amount of juries that have to be used on tort cases.
3. Helps Corporations and Insurance Companies
With tort reform, corporations and insurance companies will be saved punitive damages that they might have had to pay in the past. This shields them from being sued and offers more protection that these companies find beneficial.
What Are the Cons of Tort Reform?
1. Harder on the Victim
With tort reform, it will put more restrictions on the actual victim and make it more difficult for them to prove their case. Lessening the time frames is one aspect of tort reform that could hinder the actual injured parties and give them a heavier burden of proof.
2. Person at Fault Not Impacted
The largest problem with tort reform is that it is entirely designed to make it harder on the injured party. The person accused of fault is the one that tort reform is actually protecting. No matter how you look at it, tort reform can’t be viewed as just.
What is “Tort?”
Tort is a term that us used to describe some type of civil wrong. This type of civil wrong has to cause harm or loss to someone in order to be classified as a tort. Negligence is one of the most common types of tort and is what many are looking to change with tort reform. Many people feel that current laws regarding civil wrong are unfair and that the person found at fault is being required to pay drastically high amounts of compensation. Those that are in agreement that tort reform is necessary feel that too many laws are frivolous and that the entire tort system is becoming entirely to expensive.
There are also those that feel current tort laws are fine as is. Many are of the belief that current tort laws protect the consumer and that tort reform will only shield the big corporations from liability. Those opposed to tort reform feel that altering the laws would only allow corporations and insurance companies to settle claims for less money. Limitations on damages is what tort reform is calling for, but some feel this only protects the big players and does not protect or look out for consumers.
What is Tort Reform Looking to Achieve?
Before you delve deeper into the pros and cons associated with tort reform, it is a good idea to look at what tort reform is looking to achieve. One supposed problem that tort reform laws are looking to alter is the sheer amount of lawsuits. Tort reform is looking to control that type of medical malpractice or personal injury cases that can be filed. The types of injuries that could qualify for this type of case are also looking to be limited with tort reform.
Another aspect of tort reform is the ability to limit or control the amount of damages that must be paid. One part of tort reform involves fixing the current way that punitive damages are looked at. Some feel that punitive costs for damages need to be altered entirely to correct the current system.