Tort reform: be careful what you may wish for
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on September 14th, 2009
The premise of tort reform is popular with politicians and big corporations, who use it as a target for “cleaning up” our complex legal system. But if you or your family needs to sue for damages following an injury, the wrong kind of tort reform could be very harmful.
The idea behind tort reform sounds logical – to reform the legal system to prevent unnecessary lawsuits against doctors, especially under the premise that such suits cause health care costs to skyrocket and medical professionals to quit their practices because of ever-increasing malpractice insurance premiums.
The problem, though, is like gravity – what goes up, must come down.
So while the idea of tort reform sounds logical, the problem is that such measures are usually written by medical and insurance company lobbyists who are looking to cut the risks for medical professionals who either make the occasional mistake while providing medical care or, worse yet, are those who are incompetent and regularly cause injuries to patients. Rather than looking out for patients, tort reform looks out for those medical professionals who have wronged their patients.
And that’s simply not acceptable.
Supporters of tort reform, the loud, accusatory advocates who inflame the issue by targeting “trial lawyers” – as though lawyers are the evil at the core of the issue – don’t ever mention that if it weren’t for poor medical care in these cases, there wouldn’t be such lawsuits.
Tort reform as it is touted by its predatory advocates would mean that you and your family would give up or be vastly limited in your legal rights to sue in the event you were the victims of poor medical care. So instead of doctors and other medical professionals being held accountable for their mistakes in diagnosis, treatment and care of patients, costs would be contained – at the expense of injured and aggrieved patients and their families.
In fact, medical corporate America doesn’t really care about tort reform. Instead, they care about cutting their losses and damage awards when poor care is given. They care about leaving victims with no means of recovering their deserved damages, all in the name of supposed “reform.”
That’s not “tort reform.” That’s passing the buck at its worst.
Tort reform is a euphemism used by doctors and corporate America who don’t want to be held accountable for their misdeeds that ultimately and unfortunately have maimed and killed our friends and family members.
Negligent parties should be responsible for all of the damages that they cause (including punitive damages). How else will we ever get more careful doctors and better health care for our families?
Just say “no” to such “tort reform.” If you are ever injured by a medical professional, your long-term well-being will depend on maintaining your right to sue. Your family and your financial future depend on it.