Tort Reform Misconceptions

Tort Reform Misconceptions

In the U.S., tort reform has become a conflicting political issue - and it has gained notoriety for the heated rhetoric coming from each side. A recent opinion piece published in Forbes takes a firm stance regarding this rhetoric by stating that the insurance industry succeeded in “tricking” more than half the states into implementing tort reform. According to the author, their achievement was based on several myths:

  • One popular myth was the idea that restricting victims’ rights to file malpractice suits would improve health care and reduce costs, in part because physicians and health care providers afraid of being sued practiced “defensive medicine,” involving unnecessary and costly tests and procedures. A major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine busted this myth when it found tort reform measures to protect ER physicians from lawsuits did not reduce the number of tests and procedures they ordered.
  • Other popular myths fueling tort reform included: (1) making it more difficult for medical malpractice victims to file claims would limit the number of “frivolous” lawsuits that drain court resources; (2) capping damages would help control juries from awarding large sums; and (3) medical insurance would be more affordable and help reverse a shortage in physicians leaving due to high premiums.

Tort reform legislation was a fallacy, well-crafted and perpetuated by insurance companies and big corporations to inhibit consumers’ access to courts. The article - which you can read here - asserts that none of these benefits were realized in states that adopted tort reform, primarily because they didn’t exist in the first place. This includes the fallacy of a reduction of medical malpractice premiums. Insurance premiums were not lowered.

For the average citizen, tort reform seems like a comprehensive effort to change our civil justice system. For those with a monetary stake in what tort reform could accomplish - or save them - it becomes something else, a guise or ruse or perfect opportunity to accomplish their hidden goals. Ultimately, big business wins again.

At Roman & Gaynor, we believe the civil justice system exists to protect the rights of the injured and the wronged, and we are passionate about harnessing the power of this system for the benefit of our clients. Our lawyers are always available to help individuals and families assert their right to have their voices heard, even against powerful corporations and big business.

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