Monday, November 26, 2007

Tort Reform - Addressing the argument against

One of the key arguments against Tort Reform has:

"We've lost our system of legal accountability, said N. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a consumer advocacy group. "Just having more doctors doesn't make patients safer. It remains to be seen who is coming to our state."

This argument is weak at best. What tort reform does do is limit the cost to society of an out of control system that has become the opposite of what it was intended for. Right now law suit after law suit is filed. It like playing the lottery. Their is little cost and eventually you will hit pay dirt. Just the threat of huge payoffs cause insurance companies and corporations to pay out on dubious claims just to avoid the risk of finding that dangerous combination of activist judge and crazy jury. By reducing, not eliminating, the amount a person can win in non economic costs to $250,000 per entity the state of Texas has significantly reduced the number of lawsuits being filed, decreased the health care insurance premiums by over 21% and increased the number of people acting as doctors in the State.

But lets look at an argument on the other side. An classic example is the Ford Pinto case. Here we learn that the automobile industry calculate the cost of lawsuits versus the cost of recall to decide if they want to recall a vehicle that they know is dangerous to drive. If we have tort reform then the automobile industry will reduce their number of recalls and maybe even safety controls and therefore hurt the safety of Americans.

However, what they didn't have in the seventies like they have in the 21st century is serious competition. If Ford begins to make a lot of unsafe cars then they are out of business. IF they are not already close to that already. The free market system and a free press will correct this problem. We don't need a bunch of lawyers getting rich off the pain and suffering of people before the market or company makes the required correction.

Lets look at another issue. Tobacco. Many of those opposed to Tort reform point to the work done on the Tobacco industry. Well this is ridiculous because anyone who honestly looks at this knows that the only thing that came of those lawsuits was a lot of money went into the lawyer pockets just so that Tobacco could avoid being sued by all the people that were actually made sick. So now the Lawyers are rich, Tobacco can continue poisoning people and where is real care for those suffering from lung cancer, Heart disease and the host of other diseases killing Americans.

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