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The Chamber of Commerce, misguided politicians, and big corporate insurance interests are frothing at the mouth to enact “tort reform” laws at both state and federal levels. They claim these laws protect small business and consumers from “frivolous” lawsuits and rising insurance rates. The truth is something quite different. They’re not concerned about protecting consumers and small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. They’re concerned about protecting themselves from legitimate civil lawsuits.
Tort law is the legal term for the common law governing personal injury and death claims, as well as some kinds of property damage and business losses. Tort reform is the enactment of laws, at the request of lobbyists for big businesses and insurance companies, to restrict the rights of regular people or property owners or limit the amounts that can be awarded to them in the event they or their property are damaged by the recklessness of another person or business practice. Tort laws have existed since personal rights were first recognized in the English common law system of justice. These laws are and have always been designed to require those responsible for injury or damage to compensate the injured and to decrease rates of injury or damage by holding the responsible parties accountable for the damage they cause. Tort laws keep you safe. Tort laws don’t put you out of business. They keep you in business. Without tort laws, the only business will be big business. And that’s just the way they want it. Don’t fall for it. Tell your congressmen to fight for your rights and your family’s safety when big business comes knocking.