In the world of politics, branding is applied to misrepresent concepts to make politically palatable that which would be unacceptable if it were properly understood. For instance, in George Orwell’s book “1984” names were placed on public concepts to make them acceptable to the mass of people by misrepresenting the concept through the use of a brand, or name. This was called “Newspeak”. Newspeak was a fictional language controlled and created by Orwell’s fictional totalitarian state.
An example of newspeak in our own time is to call a change in the law “reform” when in fact the change is undesirable and promoted only to favor special interests. And so it is with tort reform, which is merely a brand.
So what is a tort? A tort is a non-contractual civil wrong. If a contract is breached, the remedy is an action for a breach of the contract. If someone with whom you have no contractual relationship wrongfully injures you, they have committed a tort; your remedy is a tort action.
What the tort reformers want to do is limit the rights of people who are injured for the benefit of the rich and the powerful. Thus for instance it is proposed that the amount of damages that an injured person could recover would be artificially limited, or “capped”, irrespective of the amount of damage that was caused. Thus if someone were injured by a corporation so badly that the person was bed ridden and required constant, around-the-clock care at a cost of $100,000 per year for the rest of the injured person’s life, that person’s right to recover money damages from the corporation that caused the injuries would be limited to a lifetime maximum of $250,000. That would be hugely beneficial to insurance companies and some big businesses.
The remaining cost of maintaining the injured person would then be left to government agencies and charitable organizations, if they were willing. That would be corporate welfare. In other words, the government would be called upon to pay for the damage caused by a corporate business. The cost would ultimately fall on the taxpayers. The injured person would be left to the mercy of government agencies or charitable organizations although the wrong causing the injury was done by a corporation.
Billions is spent by some big businesses and insurance companies to promote the desirability of this so-called reform, which is only reform in a Newspeakian sense. There are others who call it “deform”. It is deform because tort reform would alter the rules for liability and the recovery of damages for the benefit of the parties who did the injuring and their insurers. Tort law historically developed along lines that were based on fairness. Tort reform would take some of the fairness out of the law for the benefit of the rich and influential, to save them money.
Rich, powerful interests use the media, advertizing and lobbyists to promote tort deform. In the political arena, and in the media, branding is powerful because an artificial name such as “reform” can be used to label and thereby misrepresent what will happen without ever having to explain or defend it – it is more saleable to the public if a misleading but good sounding label is put on something without further examination that would tell the real story.
>> Part 2 of 2 - VALUE AFFECTED BY TORT REFORM
Personal Injury Protecting Your Rights in Accidental Injury Claim
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