The real debate about the merit of “tort reform” proposals takes place at kitchen tables, in diners, and around water coolers each and every day. While big monied interests spend considerable resources trying to influence public opinion on the matter, at the end of the day, these bills will not pass if most community members recognize them for what they are and voice their opinion to elected officials.
That is why it is important for our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys to help in the effort by sharing honest information about the reality of filing a lawsuit in our state as a result of medical errors. While the rhetoric regarding lawsuits is frequently heated, there is no excuse for the unanswered promulgation of misleading claims that may lead some community members to be confused about tort reform laws.
Fortunately there are many others in Illinois who are also working to defend the rights of those harmed by negligence. For example, a recent letter to the editor published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch from the President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) struck back against a previous editorial which trumpeted the widely-discredited claims made in the “Judicial Hellhole” report which makes headlines each year.
As blog readers know, this “report” is nothing more than arbitrary selections from a small group that seeks to distort public perception about the justice system. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest backers of the efforts are those who have the most to gain by taking away the legal rights of residents: large corporations, including big medical interests.
In his letter to the editor, the ITLA President explained how the report suggests that corporations are somehow treated unfairly by the legal system. Yet, the report, he writes “fails to explain why corporations shouldn’t be held accountable in our courts when they produce unsafe products, pollute air and water, swindle their employees, or otherwise harm or even kill individuals.”
The hidden secret that these “tort reform” groups and their corporate backers never share is that they do not fear “frivolous” lawsuits. Anyone who has worked in the legal system understands that there are no free lunches, and all plaintiffs must meet various requirements for their legal matter to advance through the system. If a claim is without merit it will not survive.
Instead, these big interests are concerned about the meritorious claims filed by those harmed by their conduct. It is those claims which might result in liability and full accountability. That is why these tort reform efforts are focused on limiting the rights all all community members no matter what the details of their claim, making it impossible for these business to be held responsible for their conduct.
The entire point of the civil justice system is to provide a level playing field. That is why those of us who represent injured parties are proud to fight back against the smears, tortured logic, and downright false information that is so often spread by those shouting “lawsuit abuse.” No resident should be worried that arbitrary rules will limit their ability to see full redress and accountability after a tragedy has befallen them.
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