The injustice known as “tort reform” never ceases to amaze and/or incense me. Supposedly, it is an attempt to reduce so-called “frivolous lawsuits”. “Frivolous” cases, by definition, are worthless cases that clog up the court dockets and waste everyone’s time, right? So what is the remedy that the tort reformers seek for these worthless cases? Unbelievably, the answer is “caps on damage awards”. This is true in every example of tort reform legislation in every state that has enacted it. Someday, someone will have to explain to me how a top-end damage cap prevents the filing of a bottom-feeding worthless case. The more appropriate “tort reform” solution is to penalize attorneys who file worthless lawsuits.
So why do the ‘tort reformers’ carry on this way? Why do they always yell “frivolous” and “damage caps” in the same breath? Because they get substantial contributions from insurance companies to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. These multi-billion dollar insurance companies are laughing at all of us who buy into this nonsense, laughing all the way to the bank.
Here’s a sad example of the injustice I am talking about: In 2004, the state of Nevada passed tort reform legislation. Of course, it took the form of a damage cap on medical malpractice cases. Now, medical malpractice litigation is very expensive to pursue to conclusion. Thus, a cap in these cases, effectively, hamstrings medical malpractice lawyers from handling these cases, because they are unable to get an adequate settlement for seriously injured or disabled victims of medical malpractice.
Supporters got this placed on the ballot and created a ‘sneaky’ campaign asking citizens to “Keep Our Doctors In Nevada.” People thought that they were voting against the filing of frivolous cases by lawyers against doctors. They thought that, without this protection, their doctors would leave. So, as a result of the vote, the doctors didn’t leave; they are still committing negligent acts. like this one:
Richard Krikalo is virtually blind in his right eye thanks to retina reattachment surgery gone bad in 2007. He approached numerous medical malpractice lawyers about pursuing a case against the negligent doctor. They couldn’t assist him. Why? Because it was not economically feasible to sue the doctor because of new medical malpractice caps and because of new time limitations passed in 2004.
Would you call a case where a doctor virtually blinded his patient “frivolous”? This case points out, with depressing clarity, that there are precious little protections for medical malpractice victims in Nevada.
Lawsuit Financial, the pro-justice lawsuit funding company opines that unchecked medical negligence increases the cost of health care in America. “Tort reform” causes unchecked medical negligence and is counter-productive in its attempt at reducing health care costs. All it has done is make wealthy doctors and insurance companies wealthier. The cost of health care in the US continues to rise despite tort reform; it is an unmitigated failure and thousands of victims are suffering in its wake. It is time that America stood up for the rights of the victim.