In culinary circles, a “torte” is a rich, multilayered cake. In legal circles, a “tort” is wrongdoing, either by negligence or intent, and someone gets hurt. So tortes are sweet and torts aren’t.
The interests behind limiting what victims can recover as a result of medical malpractice promote the idea that torts are out of control and unjust. But the Center for Justice and Democracy’s colorful website Pop Tort is sweet on the truth, which does not support that position.
How well do you score on Pop Tort’s civil justice pop quiz?
1. Tort case filings are what percentage of all civil cases in our courts?
a. more than 50 percent
b. between 25% and 50 percent
c. between 10% and 25 percent
d. under 10 percent
The correct answer is: d. According to the National Center for State Courts, tort cases represented only 6 percent of all civil caseloads in the reporting states.
2. From 1999 to 2008, the number of tort filings:
a. increased by more than 25 percent
b. increased by 10 percent
c. dropped by 10 percent
d. dropped by more than 10 percent
It's d once again! Tort filings fell by 25 percent in those states studied by the National Center for State Courts.
3. The median damage award in tort cases is:
a. $1 million
b. between $500,000 and $1 million
c. between $100,000 and $500,000
d. less than $100,000
Once again, horribly predictable. The answer is d. In fact, the median award in tort cases is just $24,000.
If you want to learn the facts, read the CJ&D’s new volume, “Briefing Book—Tort Litigation and Juries: By the Numbers.” If you want to learn the facts specifically about medical malpractice, link to the continuously updated “Medical Malpractice Briefing Book: By the Numbers.”