Beware when you hear we need “tort reform”.
The insurance industry and large corporations have orchestrated the passage of numerous laws in many states that limit the rights of those injured to obtain full recompense for their losses. They call these laws tort “reform”. These laws often establish monetary caps on the amount that an injured person may recover, foisting a one-size-fits-all mentality upon innocent victims, such as those maimed or killed by defective ignition switches in certain cars (which could have been fixed for 57 cents, according to Congressional hearings).
The insurance industry maintains that these limits lower insurance premiums; they do not. Instead, they raise the bottom line of insurance companies. In other words, these tort “reforms” privatize profits while socializing risks. If the insurance companies and the big business corporations don’t have to pay for the losses, who does? The taxpayers, of course, through various forms of public assistance.
Many states have declared these laws unconstitutional, as they deprive citizens of a fair day in court. Unfortunately, South Carolina is not one of them. Notably, our immediate neighbor to the west, Georgia, has thrown out such limitations, declaring them a violation of the inviolate right to trial by jury guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions. Paradoxically, it’s often the same individuals who scream about constitutional rights, the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, who bellow the loudest in favor of violating the constitutional right to trial by jury.
These “reform” laws are not needed; they are phony solutions looking for a problem. Our court system already has in place numerous safeguards to protect defendants from any jury verdict that might be considered excessive in a particular setting. We certainly don’t need legislators, responding reflexively to lobbyists, telling our citizen juries what to do in a particular case. Such laws are really just big government overreach; don’t we already have enough of that?
What do you think?
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