Tort reformers say caps need to be placed on punitive and non-economic damages because there is a crisis in the litigation areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. What these pro-tort reformers often fail to realize or do not care about at all is that at its very essence, tort reform punishes those who are less fortunate. It even in many instances prevents them from seeking the justice they deserve from at fault parties. A recent article involving a discussion with Jennifer Ingram Wilkinson, a Mississippi opponent to tort reform, does a good job of explaining the real effects tort reform can have on the average everyday citizen.
According to Hattiesburgamerican.com:
Noneconomic and punitive damages are the only avenues by which the poor can recover money if their economic damages are minimal because they had little money to begin with, Wilkinson said.
“For a woman who stays at home with her children and does not earn an income, she does not have the opportunity to recover economic damages – the only damages she has the opportunity to receive are for her pain and suffering and loss of the enjoyment of living,” she said.
“This is an access to justice issue.”
With caps, Wilkinson said, businesses can set aside in advance the money they might lose to punitive damages – so their power as a deterrent to bad-faith business practices is neutralized.
This article provides an interesting look into the other side of tort reform. Maybe someday those who are so dire to make changes in this area, like Senator Lott, will stop and examine the overall picture of tort reform measures before hastily casting their next vote on such vital issues concerning the U.S. citizenry. At the very least, one can only hope they will…
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer in 2017, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys.