Tort Reform

Topics: Tort, Tort reform, Tort law Pages: 4 (1409 words) Published: September 12, 2006
In the United States justice system, a tort is best defined as an injury or loss that was committed deliberately or negligently by a single person or an entity (Crane). The history of tort law can be traced back to the initial trespass of property or person, but it was not until the 18th century that the distinction between intentional and unintentional acts was made (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). In recent years, tort law has become the center of scrutiny through the increase in tort costs, insurance liability costs, and the number of frivolous lawsuits made. This scrutiny has lead to the creation of tort reform. Tort reform is a movement to reshape the way consumers can access the courts by restricting their right to sue and limiting the award that could be received (Crane). The upbringing of this reform has also brought to the table two clear and divided groups and their opinions of tort reform; the advocates of tort reform and the opposition.

Though many tort reform advocate groups exist, the most prevalent and well publicized advocate group that has arisen is the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). These advocates have presented numerous reasons and facts as to why tort reform needs to take place in our legal system. Their first argument stems from the costs of tort law. They explain that the legal system has been burdened with too many frivolous law suits and that the system has therefore become expensive. They presented that the U.S. tort system in 2003 incurred $246 billion dollars in costs, which results to $3,380 per a family of four. They take this argument one step further by stating that the growth in these tort costs has consistently exceeded the gross domestic product in the last 50 years by 2-3 percent (ATRA).

Another key argument presented by the advocates is the increase in the number of lawyers and the corruption of the tort system. They support this argument by presenting the fact that the number of lawyers has...
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