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Tort Reform and Its Public Policy Influence in Texas

According to tort law, the reform focuses primarily on personal injury issues that should be compensated in financial terms. Therefore, tort demands that people, who are responsible for harm or damage to another person, should reimburse the loss. The damages usually imply income loss, medical costs, and reimbursement for physical injuries. Even though tort law provides a kind of insurance for the victim, the US tort reform has faced rigid criticism in economic, financial, and social terms.

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From an economic perspective, the critics support the idea that the U.S tort reform system is rather controversial. It is also suggested that the system, which makes the people take responsibility for the injuries, is ineffective because it is open to legal violations. Opponents of the tort law in the United States disagree that this criticism is unjustified and rely on insufficient evidence concerning the effectiveness of previously adopted reforms. There are also several other inconsistencies expressed by the critics. To begin with, the “transaction costs” of the system are considerably high (The Congress of the United States, 2004, p. 16).

This is of particular concern to the attorney’s fees that cap the individuals to agree on their services. Further, compensatory damages for suffering and pain are often assigned arbitrarily, with a tangible impact on safety (The Congress of the United States, 2004). What is more important is that medical negligence lawsuits are contributing to the increased expenses on liability insurance for health care professionals to the extent that some physicians are limiting their practices even when retiring. Finally, the compensation for tort victims is restricted by lawsuits of non-economic injuries that increase the probability of bankruptcy for firms.

About the state of Texas, tort reform also bears a controversial character although it has positively contributed to alleviating the consequences of the crisis. Specifically, the 2003 crisis was marked by a significant drop of physicians practicing medicine in Texas, particularly of those who dealt with high-risk specialties (Perry, 2012). The serious malpractice reflected the rise of lawsuits against the doctors, but the adoption of tort reform reduced the number of trials and brought doctors’ negligence down to another level.

As a result of these changes, the level of doctor’s involvement in treatment has been introduced. However, the tort reform was not beneficial for trial lawyers who “have been using…statistical sleight of hand, and falsehoods to undermine it since” (Perry, 2012, p. 1). So, regardless of the positive shifts in treating health care in the United States, the reform fails to consider the veritable physician crisis that all citizens face because nearly 100 Texas counties have lost one practitioner dealing with a high-risk sphere.

In conclusion, it should be stressed that reform has faced rigid criticism on the part of the legal advocates who believe that the tort law does not only restrict legal actions but also introduces significant economic losses. Besides, the reform has failed to change the situation with doctors because the cases of malpractice are still on the rise in hospitals. Additionally, the changes in tort laws at a state level are inconsistent as well because most of the compensations provided to victims are financial. In economic terms, such a reform imposes significant costs and, therefore, does not contribute to the overall quality of life in the country.


Perry, R (2012). Tort Reform Has Had Just the Impact We Desired. Statesman. Web.

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The Congress of the United States. (2004). The Effects of Tort Reform: Evidence from the States. CBO Paper. pp. 3-35. Web.

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