If you live in a tort reform state, such as Louisiana, you may be affected in a number of ways. For example, it may be more difficult to find an attorney to take your case. And, unfortunately, another side effect is that the progress of patient safety initiatives may have been hindered. In this post, we’ll discuss torts and tort reforms in Louisiana, and what that means for the victims of healthcare negligence.
What is a Tort?
A tort is a civil wrongdoing that involves an injury. The injury can be physical, mental, or monetary in nature. This injury can only be caused by purposeful or negligent conduct, in order for the act to fall into the “tort” category. A few common examples include assault, medical malpractice, or negligence.
What is Tort Reform?
Tort reform refers to a change in the civil justice system that reduces the ability of victims to file lawsuits. Or, the reform can also reduce the amount of recovery available for victims to win their lawsuits. A number of states currently impose laws concerning medical malpractice lawsuits, Louisiana included. Contractors designed this law to reduce litigation. These laws typically focus on a specific injury.
Tort reform has its favorable and unfavorable characteristics, no doubt. Many have contested the issue, since the introduction. Some reforms allow for time constraints that a victim has to file and recover for medical negligence. Others cap the amount that a victim can recover. Some states even place limits on the amount of compensation an attorney can recover.
The primary impetus is economic. The thought process was that the costs of litigation and compensation were raising insurance premiums. Some suggested that this, in turn cause the cost of healthcare to rise.
However, with over 195,000 negligence attributed deaths in the United States each year, as one would expect, the amount of medical malpractice suits holds weight. But, the costs associated with malpractice lawsuits, in relation to the value patients had to come out of pocket for, was relatively low. Therefore, the laws only make it more difficult for victims to recover what’s rightfully theirs.
Where Does Tort Reform Come From?
In the 1970’s, in response to the increase in lawsuits as people in the United States became increasingly litigious, insurance companies and large corporations led a movement to revise the civil justice system. In the 40 years since proponents of tort (civil liability) reform claim that Americans are running to lawyers for non-debilitating and manufactured injuries just to profit from a property owner or business.
And, the judicial system decides over and over that Americans deserve compensation, with many of those injured in the multi-millions. As a result, tort reform advocates have worked to enact legislation to limit personal injury lawsuits and reduce or deny monetary settlements.
In the mid-2000’s, corporations and medical providers resurfaced the efforts of reforming laws to stop frivolous lawsuits. They also targeted fraudulent injury claims that extorted property owners and medical professionals.
In many ways, tort reform advocates have succeeded.
How Do Tort Reform Bills Hurt Personal Injury Cases?
If you live in a reform state, such as Louisiana, you may be affected in a number of ways.
Consequently, tort reform bills were passed that significantly limit the damages an injured victim can recover from a person or entity that has harmed them. In general, because of tort reform, it’s now harder for injured victims to win lawsuits.
Unfortunately, victims who suffer injuries because of the reckless, negligent conduct of another may face a lifetime of medical issues and a radical decrease in their quality of life, which means tort reform is short-sighted.
Throughout the U.S., one of the most significant areas tort reform has affected is medical malpractice. Though victims injured by medical practitioners may suffer a lifetime of issues rising into the millions of dollars, caps have been set on the damages they’ll be awarded because of tort reform.
While frivolous claims shouldn’t be compensated, legitimate lawsuit awards have declined, and winning fair personal injury claims has become more challenging for individuals who have been wrongful hurt due to the negligence of another person or entity.
Shreveport Tort Reform Attorney
Despite tort reform, The Greenwald Law Firm has won settlements that are 6 figures plus for our Shreveport and Bossier City clients. With over 20 years’ experience handling devastating and complex personal injury claims citizens of Louisiana, our success is a direct reflection of our passion and dedication to ensuring our clients are justly awarded when they’ve been injured because of recklessness or negligence of another person or entity.
If you have questions about medical malpractice laws, contact Joey Greenwald to learn more. Reforms and changing laws can be confusing, and if you have been harmed by medical negligence, these can seem very overwhelming.