The Threat of Tort Reform to Our Constitutional Rights

Posted on Feb 25, 2011
The threat that tort reform in general and proposed medical malpractice reform poses to our constitutional right to trial by jury enshrined in the 7th amendment to the United States Constitution is discussed by lawyer Christopher K. Yarbro in an essay published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Medical Malpractice Reform Could Exact Huge Costs."

Mr. Yarbro makes the following points:
• The Founding Fathers regarded the right to trial by jury "as the very palladium of free government" as Alexander Hamilton discussed in Federalist Paper #83

• frivolous malpractice lawsuits are few: a Harvard school of Public health study reviewed 1400 closed malpractice claims and found 97% meritorious and 80% of those involved death or serious injury

• The National Association of Insurance Commissioners in a 2007 study found that the total spent defending claims and compensating victims of medical malpractice was just 0.3% of total health care costs

• Doctors' malpractice insurance premiums are not increased by malpractice claims: an analysis by Americans for Insurance Reform found that medical malpractice insurance premium increases were dictated by poor investments by insurance companies, rather than payouts on malpractice claims

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