Jackpot Justice: Mississippi Before Tort Reform

News Mississippi commemorates the state’s 10th anniversary after passing tort reform in Looking Back at Mississippi Before Tort Reform.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that prior to tort reform, doctors were seeing 25% annual increases in malpractice insurance.  Jones County had more plaintiffs than residents.  And doctors were fleeing the state.  Haley Barbour, who was elected governor in 2003 on a tort-reform platform, stated that Toyota and several Fortune 500 companies would not consider coming to Mississippi under the conditions prior to tort reform.

The 2004 tort reform law did not limit the amount a plaintiff could get for lost wages, medical bills or other quantifiable costs but only limited the subjective elements such as “pain and suffering.”  The state passed a $500,000 cap on these subjective, non-economic damages although business in the state lobbied for a $250,000 cap.

Medical liability insurance in Mississippi has dropped 60% as medical liability suits dropped by more than 90% in one year.  Overall, tort cases have dropped from 10,600 in 2002 to about 3,500 in 2012 according to the Clarion-Ledger.

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