It’s been interesting to read story after story where the tort deformers keep claiming that no one wants to talk about tort reform. Funny, seems like it’s a topic everywhere. The next sentence is usually from the attack book of Bush/Rove to blame the greedy trial lawyers. Sometimes it is couched in an anonymous frivolous battering of the injured claimants, but either way it’s vicious attacks on what is a constitutional right. A replacement for a punitive eye-for-an-eye system.
But, let’s talk about tort deform. They want damage caps. The cost benefit analysis on human lives that allows the wrongdoer to know what their risk is. Should they do the right thing or just take the chance and at most it will cost them $250,000? There’s been a series of past product liability cases where it was proven that the cost of how many people would be killed was factored in as a cost of doing business. Yep, there is greed involved in the equation alright.
I was asked today at church what tort reform I thought would be acceptable to get the health care bill passed. The question came from a well meaning person who just wants to see the right thing happen in health care and who hears all the claims that the trial lawyers are standing in the way of it getting done. The thing is, we aren’t.
I’m quite convinced that there isn’t a single vote to be gained from any tort reform. the Republicans don’t want to pass a bill, never have and never will. The elimination of the tort system probably wouldn’t bring them over. So this may really be a wasted debate. But, for the public , we do need to have the discussion, because there are real people who care and see this as something other than a political football.
I offer up the Minnesota system. It has no caps. It has an expert affidavit system. I can sue almost anyone for anything, if I have a good faith reason to do it, but for a doctor, I need another medical professional in the same field to OK it first. Not just with a report, but with a sworn affidavit. Minnesota has got some of the lowest premiums in the country, a low number of claims and best of all, a great health care system. So if we are going to look at a state , let’s look at something that works. A system that protects the consumers.
It’s a system that would be a change for much of the country. It would show that we are serious about getting this bill passed and I predict it will still not get any votes from the other side. Why? Well, because it’s really only politics to many of them. They are bought and paid for by the insurance companies, and they will claim it didn’t go far enough. My favorite response here will be : "You can get an expert doctor to say anything". I think that’s true with just about any group, and would suggest that is what has been getting the opponents by so far.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.