You or a loved one has been injured in an accident. The injuries are serious. The medical bills are growing. The healing is going to take time.
Can you hold the person who caused the accident responsible for your damages? What are your rights as an injured victim in Arizona?
The Arizona Constitution states:
The right of action to recover damages for injuries shall never be abrogated, and the amount recovered shall not be subject to any statutory limitation. Article 18 Section 6
Presently, in Arizona, your right to seek a recovery for your damages is safe. However, will it stay that way? I have heard of this thing called tort reform. It sounds reasonable, designed to prevent frivolous lawsuits. At least that is what is advertised. Is that true?
First, what is a tort? Simply stated, a tort? is a wrong that causes damage. An auto accident. A medical mistake. A defective product. A dangerous premises. In Arizona, if you or a loved one sustains injuries and incurs damages because of another’s fault, your right of action to recover damages for injuries shall never be abrogated, and the amount recovered shall not be subject to any statutory limitation?.
OK, then, what reform is being proposed?
Tort reform involves one thing: Limiting or taking away YOUR right of action. Wait a minute? I thought it only took away frivolous lawsuits? No, that is the selling point for tort reform. You know who is selling? Big insurance companies. Big corporations, who don’t want to be held accountable for their wrongs. So they package the destruction of your rights in a thing called tort reform, and use their advertising money and influence to sell you something false.
In the United States, we have freedoms that virtually no other country in the world has. We have the right to hold wrongdoers accountable for the harms they cause. It is called responsibility and accountability, and honestly, without it, we would not be free. It is nearly if not impossible to decide in advance what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit. (Cigarette lawsuits were frivolous 20 years ago, until investigations uncovered that the cigarette manufacturers deliberately placed substances in their product to get people hooked.) And, in reality, tort reform means much more than curbing undesirable claims.
Tort reform may mean placing an arbitrary limit or cap on the amount of money you can recover (i.e., no matter how bad the harm, you cannot get more then X dollars). How is that fair? It someone causes you damages of $1,000,000, the courts should not have an advance rule that you can only recover a fraction of that. Who does that protect? Us? No way. It protects insurance companies and large corporations, the people that are behind tort reform It may mean legislation that protects a certain group (i.e., doctors can no longer be sued if they commit malpractice). This is tort reform. It is sold to the public as a means to stop frivolous lawsuits or to stop greedy lawyers, but I promise you, those are just insurance company or big business catchphrases for limiting or taking away your right of action guaranteed in the Arizona Constitution. It may sound like an okay idea, until it happens to you or your family. At that point, you will understand how important your rights are. Make more sense now?
Remember the old phrase:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out?
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out?
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out?
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me?and there was no one left to speak for me.
Arizona guarantees you a right of action to recover damages if someone causes you harm. Don’t take that lightly, don’t lose it and don’t give it away. When it is gone, I promise you, it will never come back. And when it happens to your family, you will understand the mistake we have made by letting it go.