The Truth About Health Care and Tort Reform, Part IV

Recap: This is the fourth post in a series. Part I explains that “tort reform” — an idea being pushed by conservatives as the cure for many economic problems, including high health care costs — has never delivered the promised results, yet conservatives keep making the promises. Part II documents how a cabal of extremely wealthy individuals and family trusts has been able to manipulate public opinion to sell “tort reform” to the public. Part III looks at arguments being made in favor of tort reform and shows that they are mostly hot air.

This part of the series is about the rights and protections citizens lose because of “tort reform.”

In brief, the word “tort” generally refers to personal injury. If Sally did something that caused John to be injured, John can sue Sally for damages. Tort law is vast and complicated. Certain situations present difficult issues, such as mesothelioma resulting from decades-past asbestos exposure, that are difficult to determine fairly.

On the other hand, you can read in Part I about residents of Las Vegas who contracted hepatitis C because of a clinic’s malpractice. It is possible some plaintiffs who tested positive for the hepatitis C virus may be unable to sue because the statute of limitations ran out before they developed symptoms.

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