What is Tort Reform?
Though a lot of people might have heard the term “tort reform,” many don’t have a good idea of what it really is. Tort reform has been a popular term in recent years and is regularly popping up in news stories and political discussions. To get a better idea of what tort reform is and how it might affect you, here are some basic questions about it.
What is a tort?
A tort is wrongdoing under the law. A tort is a type of harm or injury that the law allows someone to recover. Torts do not typically arise out of agreements or contracts made between people, but rather out of injuries or harms people do to one another.
For example, let’s say you are injured in a car crash. The other driver was drunk at the time and the court finds that the driver is responsible for your injuries. If you want to recover money for your damages, you can sue that other driver because he committed a tort.
It’s important to note that a tort is very different from a criminal case. Only prosecutors can decide to file criminal charges. However, regardless of a prosecutor’s decision, someone injured by someone else’s intentional or negligent actions can choose to file a tort lawsuit.
What is tort reform?
If a tort is a kind of lawsuit, “tort reform” is a term that describes various ways to limit these types of tort lawsuits. Tort reforms are legal initiatives that are designed to change how courts handle tort cases.
For example, some states have adopted tort reforms that impose damage limitations in personal injury cases. These limitations typically apply to what are known as “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages apply when someone suffers harm, but that harm is not easily measurable.
For example, let’s say that, as the result of a medical procedure gone wrong, you lose the ability to have sexual relations. There is no easy dollar figure that applies to this type of harm, though it does significantly affect your ability to enjoy life. If you live in a state with tort reforms that have limited non-economic damages, your ability to recover money for the harm you suffered in this type of case will be reduced.
What does tort reform mean to me?
Lawsuits are subject to a number of limitations. You cannot, for example, sue someone for a personal injury if you have waited too long because your state’s statute of limitations requires you to act within a limited amount of time.
If you live in a state that has adopted tort reform laws, your ability to file a lawsuit, or your ability to seek compensation for your injuries, will be subject to additional limitations. Whether those limitations apply to your ability to recover money for the losses you suffered, your ability to file a lawsuit or impose other restrictions, the type of tort reform that applies to you and your case will differ depending on where you live and what kind of case you have.
If you feel you have a potential lawsuit and you have questions regarding tort reform in your area, be sure to call a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.