Whether you celebrate or lament the new Democratic majority in the Congress, one thing is undeniable – federal tort reform legislation will be off the table for now. Tort reform – the view that victims of personal injury from negligence should have restricted access to the courts and fewer rights if they get there, was an issue that divided right down party lines.
Many Republicans, especially the more conservative members, favored it, and about every Democrat opposed tort reform. While Congress won’t be enacting any tort reform legislation for now, the issue remains live, and the rights of personal injury plaintiffs are still at risk. The campaign by the insurance industry and certain business lobbies to restrict your rights if you are injured, is relentless. If they can’t get a big victory, they will continue to try to chip away at victim’s rights, trying to repeat the success they have had in states such as Massachusetts, in which there are special, limiting rules for medical malpractice victims. More on that topic in a future post.