Friday, May 13, 2016

Ralph Nader on Tort Reform

A lot of people get pretty fired up about tort reform.  Our health care premiums and products cost so much more because of "frivolous lawsuits."  You know, people that pick up their lawn mowers to trim their bushes and get injured just run to the nearest ambulance chasing lawyer and get awarded millions of dollars.  This is why everything is so terrible.

We should ask ourselves who might benefit from these arguments by anecdote.  Who do you think wants to prevent an ordinary poorer person from having the tools necessary to push back against a powerful corporation that is guilty of negligence that has caused harm?  Who do you think doesn't like power shifted from the board room to a jury?  Who doesn't want to have to disclose what they knew about the dangers of their products?  Who doesn't want to have to spend a lot of engineering dollars improving products to make them safer?  Who do you think has a vested interest in getting you fired up about the need for tort reform?

Did you know that while insurance companies and their lobbyists claim that things like medical malpractice lawsuits give them no choice but to raise premiums dramatically these same companies refuse to allow the public to know how much they pay out in relation to the premiums they collect?  Did you know that in the cases where they have passed legislation that has limited your ability to sue or limited the amount you can collect in damages there is not a commensurate reduction in premiums or even slow down in the rate of premium increase?

Ralph Nader writes a pretty long but informative article you can read here if you are interested in these matters.

1 comment:

Darf Ferrara said...

Tangentially related, David Friedman's book Law's Order is about how the law is organized. It has a chapter on torts here