The Miami Herald says Tort reform must prove itself to the people.
In an article that details many of the so-called tort reforms of the last several years the Herald basically says it is time to show me the money.
My clients and the other wrongfully injured persons in Florida have paid a huge price for this supposed benefit to our state and society. The changes have harmed real people with real injuries and losses. That is a given. What remains to be seen is whether anyone, other than insurance companies, will see any real benefits to their loss of rights.
In the past six years, the tort-reform movement has delivered significant victories in Florida. A series of legislative actions and public initiatives have removed many of the legal ”inequities” reviled by manufacturers, physicians, hospitals, retailers and insurers.
The Sunshine State finds itself in a position of being a new laboratory for the results of legal reform. Now is the time to stop and observe whether the tort-reform movement can deliver on many of its economic promises. This is certainly not the time to legislate additional changes to Florida’s legal system, particularly at the behest of lobbyists representing specific special interests.
With so much change already accomplished, observers on both sides of the tort-reform debate will be watching to see whether promised results will be achieved. Will medical-insurance rates decline, allowing physicians, hospitals and health insurers to pass savings along to consumers? Will the more business-friendly state court system bring a rush of new employers to Florida? And will tort reform yield a legal system capable of delivering equal justice for plaintiffs and defendants?
Responsible leaders in Florida must ensure that gains in tort reform truly benefit the state’s citizenry, as well as its corporate and professional interests.
Results must now be measured and the big picture must be assessed before any further change is adopted through legislative or political means. Failure to do so only increases the chances of a public backlash that might ultimately reverse the tide of tort reform.