Brain injury lawsuits include accidents that occur in many different settings, from car crashes and medical malpractice to construction accidents or falls on unsafe property. One things that is similar in all of them is often the seriousness of the harm. Brain injuries can completely alter the course of a life. It is usually not something that you can just give time to heal and be assured that things will be back to normal. Sometimes things will never be back to normal and it takes grueling (and expensive) medical care and therapy over the course of decades to improve as much as possible.
It is therefore no surprise that lawsuits seeking accountability and redress following these injuries are sometimes significantly larger than suits for less serious injuries. After all, the civil justice system is premised on the idea that wrongdoer pay for the actual harm caused. The more significant the harm the larger the compensation needed.
For this reason, cases like those involving brain injury are often at the forefront of “tort reform” efforts where big interests seek to insulate themselves from being forced to pay large damages for the harm their negligence causes. Attorneys throughout the state appreciate how misguided these efforts are–constituting nothing more than an attempt by deep-pocketed interests to wrestle even more power away from ordinary residents.
One way that those big interests have been successful in this regard is by reframing the debate and issuing misleading reports. Perhaps none of those is as prominent as the one released this month by the American Tort Reform Association. This annual “Judicial Hellhole” report was recently revealed, a bland list of communities that are apparently rife with judicial problems.
It doesn’t take long for those looking more closely at the matter to realize how little substance is behind the report or its finding. Essentially, the document is just an attempt to grab headlines and generate controversy while entirely misconstruing the purpose of the justice system. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President recently responded to the annual released by comparing it to the old Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.” Just as the character in the film has to re-live the same events over and over, this “report” is released year and year with little substance and little effect.
In reminding readers about the need to fight back against tort reform overreach, the ITLA President notes: “No entity, government official or business should be permitted to use its power, however massive, to infringe upon the right of citizens to have their day in court.”
Make no mistake, no matter what package is wrapped around tort reform proposals, the core of the idea is to take away legal rights from citizens and insulate wrongdoers from accountability. The idea is that the more barriers companies can put in the way of harmed citizens the less they will have to pay out–increasing their own bottom line. All of the claimed “benefits” of these laws have been shown repeatedly to be illusory. At the end of the day this is a power-grab and nothing more. All of us need to fight strongly against it.
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