Tort Talk

What are the differences in tort law between each state?

Injury tort law, also known as personal injury law, is the area of law that governs claims for compensation for injuries that are caused by the negligence or wrongful actions of others. In the United States, each state has its own set of laws and regulations that govern personal injury claims, and there can be significant differences in the laws between states. Some of the key differences in injury tort law between states include:

  • Statutes of Limitations: This is the time frame within which an individual must file a personal injury claim. Statutes of Limitations vary from state to state, and can range from as little as one year to as long as six years or more.

  • Comparative Negligence: This refers to the way in which a court will determine how much fault each party bears for an accident. Some states use a "comparative negligence" standard, which means that a court will assign a percentage of fault to each party, and the damages will be awarded accordingly. Other states use a "contributory negligence" standard, which means that if the plaintiff is found to be even slightly at fault for the accident, they will not be able to recover any damages.

  • Caps on Damages: Some states have caps on the amount of damages that can be awarded in personal injury cases. For example, some states have caps on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

  • No-Fault Insurance: Some states have no-fault insurance systems, which means that, regardless of who is at fault for an accident, each person's own insurance company will cover their medical expenses and lost wages. These states typically have more restrictive laws regarding personal injury claims.

  • Expert Witnesses: Some states have laws that require personal injury claims to be supported by expert witness testimony.

What effects would tort reform have and what are the goals of the parties attempting to push for tort reform?

Tort reform refers to proposed changes in the civil justice system that would limit the ability of individuals to file lawsuits or reduce the amounts of damages that can be awarded in such lawsuits. Proponents of tort reform argue that the current system is overly litigious, leading to higher costs for businesses and ultimately being passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The goal of those pushing for tort reform is to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits, lower the cost of doing business, and decrease the cost of products and services for consumers. Opponents of tort reform argue that it would limit the rights of individuals to seek justice and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.