Published: December 2016

A guide to personal injury lawsuits (and their benefits)

The Center for Justice & Democracy’s new study on personal injury (or “tort”) lawsuits shows how they benefit not only the consumers who win the suits, but the general public.

The Center for Justice & Democracy just released a study highlighting 100 personal injury (tort) lawsuits spanning over 50 years. Each of the suits led to major safety improvements that benefitted large numbers of people.

The lawsuits range from those involving the healthcare sector (for instance, a doctor or paramedic who injured a patient) to the food and consumer products industry (e.g. a medication that lacked a critical warning or caused illness or death). The highlighted suits also include those in the environmental/public space (like a trash dump that emitted toxic fumes) and those involving crime, violence and official misconduct (e.g. police use of excessive force). You can view a number of case studies here.

The Center called attention to the need for research on these types of suits, stating: “As our civil justice system faces new political risks, [our study] stands as irrefutable evidence that tort lawsuits save lives, and we as a society would suffer tremendously if our civil justice system were weakened in any significant respect.”

For the last 40 years, big business has fought against these types of personal injury cases by enacting “tort reform” laws that take the power to try the cases away from local juries and keep people from being able to effectively sue.

The study documents how the cases that have been tried have resulted in a variety of benefits, including: the redesign or recall of dangerous products, improved hospital procedures, safer workplaces, cleaner public areas and more.

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