Debunking Myths: Tort Reform
Many industries have perpetuated the notion that lawsuits are out of control and responsible for many of America’s ills. Unfortunately, public policy decisions and personal decisions are often made based on these myths:
- Myth — The number of lawsuits filed is skyrocketing: In reality, tort cases comprise only 4.4 percent of state court filings. Further, the number of cases filed is in steady decline. Between 1999 and 2008, the number of tort filings in state courts declined by 25 percent. The number of tort trials at the state level is decreasing as well. In America’s largest counties, tort trials decreased 31.8 percent between 1992 and 2001. Between 1985 and 2003, the number of federal tort cases resolved in federal district courts also dropped by a staggering 79 percent.
- Myth — Tort reform is necessary because lawsuits are killing small businesses: Small-business owners across the country consistently rank lawsuits very low on their list of concerns. The large corporations fighting for tort reform simply do not want to be held financially accountable for any negligence.
- Myth — Insurance rates are increasing because of lawsuits: Insurance companies’ premiums are rising, but not to maintain profits. Rather, their profits have risen as much as their premiums have to record-breaking levels.
- Myth — Children have no recess because schools are afraid of litigation: Schools that have eliminated recess overwhelmingly cite increased academic and testing requirements as reasons.
- Myth — People do not volunteer for charities because they fear lawsuits: The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provided immunity for volunteers of nonprofits.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine your best legal recourse.