Pro Tort Reform

Topics: Tort, Tort law / Pages: 3 (747 words) / Published: Mar 7th, 2012
Tort reform refers to the proposed changes in the common law civil justice systems that would reduce tort litigation and/or damages. Tort liability imposes significant cost on society. In 1991, US has spent a total of $131.6 billion on tort litigation, which is approximately 2.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP)1 Studies have shown that the citizens pay a tort tax of $1200 per individual or nearly $5000 for a family of four. 2 Today, tort reform is a contentious political issue and its advocates propose procedural limits on the ability to file claims and capping awards of damages.

The cost of healthcare in the US is very expensive and is rising rapidly. Tort is one of the main reason this is happening. Tort pay out usually comes from the insurance companies, which eventually raise the insurance cost, and the cost is incurred to everyone paying insurance. In addition, the current medical liability system does not effectively compensate patients from medical negligence nor improve patient safety by addressing system errors. 93% of physicians have started to practice defensive medicine3 in order to avoid getting into lawsuits and this has adversely affected the physician-patient relationship. Physician eliminate complex procedures or procedures that seem litigious. These behaviors have strained and limit physicians to their scope of work, which ends up


Kirk W. Dillard, Illinois' Landmark Tort Reform: The Sponsor's Policy Explanation, 27 LOY. U. CHI. L.J. 805, 809 nn.1, 16-17 (1996).
2 3

See Dillard, supra note 10, at 809 n.16

adding to the rising healthcare costs. Frivolous malpractice suits also put doctors out of business. Tort reform is a solution to slow down the rising healthcare cost.

Tort liability, also known as product liability inhibits innovation and other economically desirable activities. Manufacturers in the US have become reluctant to test out new products for the fear of

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