Tort Reform....An Opinion
All that you want to know about Audrey is there in the red link on Audrey's home page. It's a bit complicated in legal speak but it is there. It is public domain. Judge Frizzell's entry on Jan 25, 2002 is especially interesting, it is under 01/25/2002 CT FREE. You might need to scroll down to view it but it sums up what happend!
Some sort of reform is probably necessary, however, we must be careful of widespread overall change. We must educate ourselves and read closely any new reform that comes along. I'm sure every situation is different but when you are thrust into the legal arena it becomes very convoluted, detailed and confusing.
These are the wonderful caring people who helped me in my "legal arena". I will always be grateful for their professionalism, legal savvy and caring attitude toward me and my family.
They truly are Audrey's Champions!
Everybody seems to be crying out for tort reform but when a legal dilemma affects you... You might think twice.
The following in an excerpt from TomPaine.com, it is an excellant observation on Tort Reform.
Case Against Tort Reform
An Interview With Joanne Doroshow, Center For Justice And Democracy
Joanne Doroshow is executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a public interest group working to preserve the civil rights of individuals in the justice system -- a similar perspective to the trial lawyers. She was interviewed by TomPaine.com's Steven Rosenfeld about the liability insurance crisis that's prompted calls by physicians and other business lobbies for federal regulation of jury awards.
Please note that many of the figures cited by both sides of this dispute are controversial and hard to independently verify.
TomPaine.com: You've called tort reform "one of the biggest public relations scams ever." Why is that?
Joanne Doroshow: Well, there is no basis for it whatsoever. Lawsuits, lawsuit filings, jury verdicts are down, and they've been that way for years. And what's really driving the call for tort reform today, is a crisis in malpractice insurance, or insurance in general, which is the result of price-gouging by the insurance industry to make up for lost investment income.
But insurance companies are blaming juries and victims for their own mismanagement and lost investment income. So, that's why it's a scam.
TP.c: Why are hospital CEOs and physician groups... why are they blaming juries and not the insurance companies?
Doroshow: Doctors and hospitals and HMOs all want their liability limited. They don?t want to be sued. They don?t want to be second-guessed when medical errors occur. And one way to certainly stop patients who have been injured from suing is to take their rights away, which is what tort reform does. It basically so limits compensation or provides so many obstacles for people who have been injured, that it?s impossible for them to find the resources to bring a lawsuit.
Ultimately, they have to hire lawyers and attorneys can't afford to bring cases -- these are extraordinarily expensive cases to bring and to win. And if you so limit the ability of a patient to get any compensation, then the attorney is not going to be able to afford to bring the case. So that's a lot of what it's about, to basically stop people from suing, who have been harmed.
TP.c: So how then is today's medical malpractice premium crisis, if you will, the Trojan Horse? for a larger or more sweeping tort reform agenda?
Doroshow: Well, Congress has never, in the more than 200-year history of this country, ever interfered with the legal system the way they are proposing to now -- by basically telling local judges and juries what they can and can't award in a case.
Once you set that kind of precedent with a federal law, there is a huge slippery-slope problem. Ultimately, it will set the stage for the pharmaceutical industry, for the chemical industry, for oil and gas, the auto makers -- they'll all move in arty to get Congress to limit their liability through federal legislation. So it's a very, very dangerous precedent and it will be used by all of corporate America over the next two years as a way of moving to basically take over the local judicial system in every single state.
TP.c: So the danger in a remedy that concerns medical malpractice insurance is that it creates a precedent that can be followed elsewhere?
Doroshow: That's certainly one of the dangers. On its own, the dangers are extraordinary when it comes to patients. And also for patient safety, because we all benefit from lawsuits whether or not we ever go to court. Often times, [it's only] because of a lawsuit that a company, like a hospital, will take steps to make things safer for everybody.
TP.c: What then do you make of this phenomenon that the other side brings up, of so-called lawsuit abuse -- because surely there are lots of people filing suits to win some settlements?
Doroshow: Well, you know, that's actually a fairly rare phenomenon, because what you?re basically assuming is that there is a lawyer out there who?s going to take a risk and get no money at all, and have to put out money to even bring a malpractice case. Lawyers are small businesses like everything else. They can?t function and afford to stay in business by bringing frivolous suits.
And as a matter of fact, only one in eight people who are hurt by malpractice even file a claim for compensation -- which is an extraordinarily low number of people, given the amount of malpractice that goes on in this country. I mean 98,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors, just in hospitals. And that's just people who die. That's not even in juries. And only something like 35,000 people a year collect anything in compensation. That's far less than the number of people that die in hospitals.
So, there is far more malpractice out there than anyone ever files a claim to try to hold the hospital or the HMO or doctor accountable for.
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