The Need for Tort Reform in the United States
Tort law is a type of law that is designed to offer remedies to civil wrongs. Unlike contractual damages that occur, where responsibility is predetermined, tort law is designed for someone who is legally injured to be able to recover damages from the person who is deemed legally responsible, or liable for such injuries. Tort law is broken down into three main categories, negligence, strict liability, and intentional tort. In negligence tort one is accused of causing damages through their carelessness. After accusation of negligence the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant had duty of care, and that a breach of duty had occurred that caused the damages. Strict liability is a legal doctrine that makes someone responsible for damages caused by their actions (e.g. product liability). Intentional tort is much like negligence, but instead of one causing damages by accident, there was reckless action or intent to cause the damages that occurred (e.g. assault, battery). Tort cases are based on common law, which is laws that have been developed through court decisions, i.e. precedent. However, in certain cases tort law can also be based on statutory law laid out by the legislature. It is up to the court to decide which rule should take a higher standing depending on the case.
Tort reform in the United States has been a long standing debate to change the tort law system. The debate has arisen due to what is seen as overvalued remuneration for damages. The tort reform movement seeks to limit the amount one may recover for damages done towards them. The goal of this tort reform is to avoid the frequent meaningless lawsuits that the United States courts have to hear each year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in 1985 there were 166,430 tort cases filled across 15 states. By 1996 this figure had risen 32% to an all time high of 243,574 cases filled. In the following years after 1996 the...
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