Tort Reform At a Glance

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What You Need to Know

  • Tort reform is the effort to enact legislation to limit the amount of frivolous lawsuits a court has to hear with the goal of streamlining the court process, improving state and local economies by reducing malpractice costs, and allowing employees to work without the constant threat of frivolous or malicious lawsuits.
  • States with fair and predictable legal systems that promote good business practices and don’t hand out frivolous punishments attract business development and encourage job creation.
  • Tort reform should focus on filtering out meritless lawsuits, closing abused legal loopholes and improving the accuracy of lawsuit awards while preserving the proper incentives to protect consumers.
  • A 2012 poll found that 89 percent of voters consider lawsuit abuse a problem and 83 percent think improvements need to be made to our lawsuit system.
  • A 2006 Harvard Law School study found that the average expenses of litigating a case fall around $52,000.  The fear of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits has also lead to an explosion of the phenomenon of “defensive medicine”. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the practice of defensive medicine increased health-care expenditures by 10 percent or $210 billion in 2006.
  • The threat of over-litigation of malpractice has also led to the problem of “defensive medicine” a process where a doctor or other healthcare practitioner may prescribe a course of treatment or action that may not necessarily be the most beneficial to the patient, but will serve to most effectively cover the practitioner from the patient as a potential plaintiff. This problem leads to subpar care due the needs of the patient coming secondary to fear of malpractice litigation.

Resources An online resource comparing state lawsuit systems – check your state here

Lawsuit Reform for Competitive State Economies: A publication outlining the challenges and solutions for the Tort Reform Issue