Tort reform hurts everyone – not just the injured. Just because you have not been injured in a car accident or at work does not mean that you never will be. If you are injured do you want your ability to be compensated for that injury to be significantly limited? Well, Tort Reform does.
Under the direction of former Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida legislature implemented a widespread attack on trial lawyers and those people injured in car accidents, at work, by negligent doctors, by nursing home neglect and abuse and by any other injuring causing event that might be called a tort. The argument is always that they, the legislature, are trying to save business and individuals’ money on their insurance premiums. According to the tort reformers, because the tort system is full of fraud everyone is paying higher than necessary insurance premiums. By limiting an injured person’s right to be compensated for their injuries, the legislature is reducing fraud which will save business and consumers money. In reality, the reforms are always promoted by the big business insurance companies to save them from paying claims.
A recent article by Tom Blackburn at the Palm Beach post recognizes that tort reform has more to do with limiting an injured person’s right to be compensated for their injuries than it does saving anyone, other than the insurance companies, money. The overall goal of tort reformers is to “starve out” lawyers who represent injured clients on a contingency fee basis. As Mr. Blackburn recognizes, this is particularly true in the area of Worker’s Compensation claims. While the number of injured workers has not decreased, the average compensation paid to an injured worker has. This change is due, at least in part, to the decreased ability of an injured worker, because of recent changes in the law under the guise of tort reform, to get legal representation to help them recover the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled.
Under our new Governor it is possible that the Workers Compensation law will be re-visited and rewritten to be more fair to injured workers. Hopefully tort reform will be revealed for what it is and the injured will be allowed to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.