A tort can be described as a civil immoral doing or an action that is not inevitably illegitimate, but one that makes another person suffer loss or mischief. In the US, any person who suffers a loss or any impairment has the right to reclaim the loss. Such a person is entitled to claim compensation for damages that he/she has incurred, usually in monetary terms. A tort claim is made against a person or people responsible for the injuries.
Tort cases may comprise such topics as product liability, wrongful imprisonment, infringement of copyright, pollution of the environment, and auto accidents among many others that qualify under the definition of a tort. Categories of tort include negligence, statutory torts, nuisance, economic torts, and intentional torts. Tort reforms in the US are simply ideas that are designed to change the way the civil justice system works
In her blog ‘Tort Deform: The Civil Justice Defense blog, Protecting America’s Access to Courts’, Justinian Lane explains tort reforms in terms of the American politics showing how the different divides between the Republicans and Democrats affect the tort reforms.
She believes that tort reforms are purely an endeavor “to make it difficult for people to file injury lawsuits besides collecting reasonable amounts of money from injury suits” (Lane, 2012, Para. 1). She postulates that efforts are meant to protect the leading industries to the detriment of the public (Lane, 2012, Para. 3).
Republicans, proponents of the campaign in question, judge that cases are a form of ordinances that affect the giant industries and that most industries fund the Republican Party. On the other hand, most trial lawyers are Democrats and that they fund the Democratic Party from earnings from these suits. Therefore, the support for tort reforms by republicans is simply to curtail the Democrats’ source of funds on the political arena.
In the evaluation of this postulation for the purposes of if it can be used as an argument for tort reforms in the US, I find it lacking in depth in terms of the core purposes of tort reforms. This follows because all American people suffer civil suits for injury and damages regardless of their political affiliations. Therefore, the need for compensation cannot be pegged on ones political views (Lane, 2012, Para. 6).
Stephen King’s views in the article ‘Does Tort Law Reform Help or Hurt Consumers?’ found in the journal The Economic Record of December 2010 “constructs a simple competitive model to analyze the effect of Tort reforms on consumers” (King, 2010, p. 563). The framework indicates that changes “to limit non-economic losses make consumers worse off ex ante” (King, 2010, p. 564).
On the contrary, changes in financial losses translate to equivocal consequences. King explains that tort law reforms in the US are meant to place a ceiling to payments on non-economic losses ranging from between $250,000 in Kansas, Tennessee, and Montana to more than $1million in Nebraska, Indiana, and Virginia.
He explains that tort reforms are aimed at reducing the number of claims made, as well as the size of claims with the sole aim of lowering insurance premiums to make other products that come along with it more affordable. This article by King is reliable in the study of tort reforms in the US because Stephen King, as an individual, is a distinguished scholar in the field of Business and Economics at the Monash University Caulfield, Victoria; Australia (King, 2010, p. 577).
King’s article gives an empirical approach to the topic to prove the theory he is postulating. This therefore makes the article reliable. The article is published in the Economic Record Journal, which is a journal published by the Economic Society of Australia, which is an authority in economic matters in Australia recognized in the world over (King, 2010, p. 563).
In the article ‘Public Choice and Tort Reform’ of 2005, Paul Rubin explains the origin, existence, and the future of tort law together with the need and consequences of its reform. Rubin explains that several interest groups that tend to shape tort, in its origin and reform, to meet their own agenda influence (Rubin, 2005, p. 224). He therefore approaches it from a public choice point of view to find out the public’s interest in tort reforms. He narrows the reforms down to the US in relation to the special groups’ interest.
This follows because tort has been shaped up by special interest lobbying and what can be described as rent seeking by trial lawyers. The article brings out the cost of tort on the economy. It explains that the cost of tort in relation to GDP is 2.2% of GDP, and that other costs like administrative costs and lawyer fees make up about 87% of the total tort cost ((Rubin, 2005, p. 228).
This article by Rubin is reliable in explaining tort reforms in the US because it comes along with facts that it has used for its argument to reach its conclusion. The article is authentic because, for it to qualify to appear in the public choice journal, it has met all the stringent conditions for any academic articles for the purpose of publication (Rubin, 2005, p. 236).
Howard Brody et.al in their paper entitled ‘Professionally Responsible Malpractice Reform’ in the Journal of Internal Medicine explores the relationship between negligence, medical malpractice, and tort reforms. The authors explain that most medical practitioners are not versed with the tort laws because they fall under a very different field, and they are too broad (Brody, 2011, p. 808).
They explain that, if medical malpractice is taken care of well, then incidences that require the intervention of tort law or action within the medical field will reduce (Brody, 2011, p. 808).
The paper further explains that physician-centered tort reforms in the US are aimed at protecting physicians by limiting the number of malpractice suits filed against the practice in a bid to punish lawyers who are accused of bringing in frivolous malpractice suits. This is discovered to be used by doctors to cover them up against litigation and not necessarily to cap tort payments (Brody, 2011, p. 809).
In finding out the authenticity of this paper and if it can be used as an authority for tort reforms in the US, the answer is yes. Medical malpractice, specifically physician negligence, is one of the major categories covered under the tort law and thus the need to reform tort in the US will most definitely fall within this document. The document has been prepared by Howard Brody et al who have an authority in medical matters as holders of a PhD in medicine. Therefore, he is an authority in this matter.
Janelle Blake et.al explores efforts that have been made by the state to curb medical malpractice reforms in her article titled ‘The Us Medical Liability System: Evidence for Legislative Reform’, which was published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
In the article, she evaluates the effects of previous malpractice tort reforms on malpractice payments and premiums in the US (Blake, 2006, p. 243). Her findings point out that a decrease in misconduct costs could be garnered significantly, “if non-economic damage ceilings could be put in operation on a national scale” (Blake, 2006, p. 246).
Her findings also indicate that noneconomic damage and total damage ceilings could lead to lower premiums. Further, she reveals, “statutory tort reforms were not associated with lower rates of payments” (Blake, 2006, p. 246). The study explains that increase in these malpractice premiums together with excessive rewards that litigants are paid and the fear that physicians have against litigation, have led to a rise in healthcare costs thus a threat to access to medical care in the US (Blake, 2006, p. 246).
The study can be used as an authentic study material for tort reforms in the US because it tends to bring out reasons for agitation of tort reforms in the US, as well as the cost of a tort action to the economy and society as a whole. This is a scholarly article done using empirical studies to come up with the drawn conclusions. As such, it has been published in a reputable research journal.
In conclusion, the articles that have been evaluated here concerning their suitability to give advice on tort reforms in the US are authentic and reliable. The conclusion follows since the sources scholarly publications with authority in their different fields.
The authors of the same articles are professionals in their fields and have very high academic credentials to cap with thus making them have authority in their respective fields of study. Thus, their opinions can be counted on to advice on the said topic ‘Tort Reforms in the US’. The articles explored have been prepared with facts in hand to prove whatever theory they are trying to postulate about tort reforms. Such facts have been collected from reliable findings done over a period, and are consistent with the requirements of research.
Blake, J. (2006). The US Medical Liability System: Evidence for Legislative Reform. Annals of Family Medicine, 4(3), 240-248.
Brody, H. (2011). Professionally Responsible Malpractice Reform. Journal of Internal Medicine, 26(7), 808-809.
King, S. (2010). Does Tort Reform Help or Hurt Consumers. The Economic Record, 86(275), 563-577.
Lane, J. (2012). Protecting Americans Access to the Courts. Tort Deform: The civil Justice Defence Blog. Retrieved from http://www.tortdeform.com/
Rubin, P. (2005). Public choice and Tort Reform. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/30026711?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents