VALUE AFFECTED BY TORT REFORM
>> Part 1 of 2 - VALUE AFFECTED BY TORT REFORM
An even better example of this type of branding occurs when Wall Street types and politicians talk about “reforming entitlements”, which is Newspeak for cutting social security and Medicare benefits for the elderly and infirm. The financial sector (which has devastated our economy) and politicians (who have given billions to the financial sector) don’t want to say that they want to cut social security and Medicare benefits to the elderly and disabled because people would then understand what the proponents of so-called entitlement reform actually wanted to do, which would be unacceptable to large segments of the public. So the tort reformers brand or label what they propose as a “reform” and avoid advertizing or explaining what they actually mean by the label.
The basis on which tort reform is sold to the public is by making the point that tort reform will result in lower insurance rates to the middle class. It doesn’t work that way. Tort reform just allows business interests to make greater profits, which only benefits people with large stock portfolios in insurance companies and large corporations. For instance of the approximately 24 or so states with the highest average automobile insurance premiums, something like 22 of those are states with no-fault auto insurance. These are states in which the compensation to persons injured in automobile crashes (to make them whole) are greatly limited, and in which the compensation paid is not based on the fault of the persons who caused the injuries. In essence, the person who is injured pays for his own injuries through his insurance premiums. This is but an example of tort reform.
The recovery of damages is limited below that which is necessary to fairly compensate those who have been injured for all of their loss, and the payouts are not based on fairness in that there is no accountability on the part of the party who caused the injuries. This is the socialization of the system whereby the public exercises its rights to pursue legal remedies, promoted for the benefit of large businesses and insurance companies, the very segment of our country that is most likely to rail against socialism in any other form. Big business does not like welfare unless it is corporate welfare.
So when an injury victim appears before a jury, the people on the jury have been subjected to decades of propaganda by some of the country’s largest and most wealthy business organizations and insurance companies, sending a variety of messages, the essence of which is that unless juries restrict recoveries high insurance rates will be the result. That resonates with some jurors. Fortunately, many jurors can see around it.
However, the politics of tort reform do affect the value of claims because of this propaganda and the media and lobbying campaigns conducted by some of the County’s largest business organizations and their insurers. Virtually all jurors have heard and seen but one side of the story before they decide the trial of a case. That is because there really is no equally effective lobby for people who will be injured. Therefore, decades of propaganda must be overcome with nine, ten or more jurors during a few days of trial in order for an injured person to receive a verdict that may make them whole. However, there are cases in which this propaganda has the effect of reducing the value of the verdict.
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