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Tort “Reform” — An Attack on our Civil Justice System

Charlotte_E_Glinka

by Charlotte E. Glinka, Esq.

Over the last couple of decades, big corporations and insurance companies have been working hard to convince the public that there is a problem in this country with lawsuits, and that those “frivolous” lawsuits are driving up the costs of goods and services, not to mention insurance rates, and driving smaller companies out of business. They’ve spent billions of dollars to sell you this propaganda. And why? Because big corporations and insurance companies would rather try to convince you that lawsuits are bad for the country than pay money on legitimate claims brought by innocent victims who have been injured or killed due to defective products, unsafe business practices or hazardous working conditions. The effect of their efforts is to try to deprive you of your right to access our civil justice system when you have been harmed due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else. And, what’s worse, they want you to let those corporations off the hook when their products or business practices harm or kill people.

According to statistics published by the National Center for State Courts, the number of filings for tort cases (the type of case that involves a wrong committed by an individual or a company that causes injury to someone), have actually declined by 25 percent in the last 10 years. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming and can take years to reach a final disposition in the courts. Who would devote the time and energy to pursue such a case, and incur up to tens of thousands of dollars in case expenses, if he or she did not have a legitimate injury? The answer is that no reasonable person would do that and no reasonable attorney would take that case.

Although there is a lot of hype surrounding so-called “frivolous” lawsuits, the truth is that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are anything but frivolous. Consider the history here: if it weren’t for our civil justice system, asbestos would still be used in construction, the Ford Pinto would still be on the road, and cars wouldn’t have seatbelts or airbags. The fact is that lawsuits help to make our citizens safer, because they force big corporations to make their products safer, or change the unsafe practices that lead to injury and death.

So don’t buy the hype of tort reform. Our civil justice system – and the right to a try by jury – are essential rights that we must all work to preserve and protect. The lawyers at Keches Law Group are committed to ensuring that our clients continue to have access to the courts in order to hold accountable those who have caused them harm.