Sunday, April 11, 2004

Tort Reform? Anyone?

If this was an isolated incident of lawyers (and unprincipled doctors) making an undeserved buck, I might not be so concerned. However, this is a concerning trend (i.e. tobacco, medical malpractice, medical sexual assault, fast food companies, etc) quickly getting out of control.

For asbestosis, the diagnosis can be rather difficult. In fact, relying on pulmonary function tests and a simple chest film seems rather stupid in regards to making a true diagnosis. Go here for a quick rundown of the disease process, etc. Having said that, it's rather ridiculous that so many claims were rubberstamped through the system before someone finally said something. Go figure though, those 'big bad businesses' have endless amounts of cash to spend on litigation, even if the litigants are bringing false cases.

This highlights a severe problem in the realm of tort law, one that needs to be seriously reviewed and tended to before it spirals even more out of control. I agree that people need to be protected, but consumers must understand that the costs for frivolous lawsuits are not paid by the companies, but by the consumers in the form of higher costs.

Final Note: Just to get this point out there, I completely disagree with the judgment against the tobacco industry. There were warnings. People ignored those warnings, got cancer, then decided it wasn't their fault they got sick. Sorry, that doesn't work for me. Just like some obese patient coming in saying "Mcdonalds has too much fat and it's making me unhealthy" doesn't sit well with me. We all make choices, and we all must live with them. Passing the buck to some company is irresponsible.

Thanks to Medpundit for the link.