As families of those killed in the crash between a bus and a FedEx truck on April 10th begin to look for justice in this terrible crash, lawyers from all stakeholders take note of the NTSB report.
While the families of the victims will have suffered indescribable loss that can never be repaired, as the weeks go by the new reality facing surviving family members is their financial futures may have been destroyed along with the vehicles.
The loss of a breadwinner or matriarch to most families will have long-lived far-reaching effects that can adversely affect the success of multiple generations in many ways – all from an event that in the vast majority of cases could have been avoided. Yet many industry groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, have been lobbying to tear down the laws that hold the negligent accountable to the victims and the American public.
The push to strip away your right to fair compensation for damages caused by negligence is under the noble-sounding name of “Tort Reform.”
Tort Reform is a clever title that sounds to a layman like good thing, while hiding the true intentions of removing accountability from individuals and corporations to increase profits.
This battle by industry lobbyists has been going on for some time now and is being waged in both federal and state governments. Proponents of tort reform claim an explosion of “frivolous law suits,” when in fact the number of lawsuits has declined sharply over the past several years, and the reasons for such cases are hardly frivolous.
Worse still, the efforts to strip away your rights to be compensated for suffering a devastating injury go far beyond attempts to cap compensation, and into your ability to take some cases to court at all. Many of these battles for the soul of the civil justice system do not make the headlines and go unnoticed in state and federal courts as the changes being proposed are highly technical and not understood by most. Other proposals go directly after changing the personal injury laws that insurers must abide by, like the recent change to Florida's PIP that reduced the time an accident victim has to make a claim down to just 14 days.
An example of this recently occurred in my own state, Florida, with the proposed House Bill 379 that would have dismantled the way compensation is awarded.
If proponents of Tort Reform, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, were able to pass legislation reducing both the ability to file lawsuits and the amount of damages one could recover, the victims and the families of this terrible event would have no recourse for their loss, or any hope of justice. This is a tragic reminder of the importance of the Civil Justice System.