A series of bills aligned with the so-called “tort reform” agenda have been introduced and are working their way through the civil justice system. These measures, long advocated by doctors, and large corporations, would fundamentally alter key protections for plaintiffs in injury lawsuits.
This “tort reform” moniker makes it sound as if such measures would be fixing major flaws in the civil justice system. In reality, these actions would make it tougher for those injured to obtain justice. Tort reform ideals are predicated on the notion that courts are overburdened with a flood of frivolous lawsuits. Greedy plaintiffs and injury attorneys are simply out to take advantage of businesses and physicians to make a buck. Health care costs and other expenses are out of control, they say, due to litigious patients and customers.
Here’s the truth: The burden of proof to bring any claim is already substantial. For example, it’s not enough that you slipped and fell in the store and were hurt. You have to show you had the right to be there. You have to show the store owed you a duty of care. You have to prove the staff either created the dangerous condition on the floor or had actual knowledge of it or should have learned of in the course of regular options and failed to address in a manner deemed timely or else warned of it. Oh, and if the condition was open and obvious, there is an expectation you should have seen it an avoided it. In North Carolina, if you are found to be even slightly responsible for the incident (a legal theory known as comparative negligence), you can’t win your case. Continue reading