Pennsylvania, A Sinner In The Tort Liability Index

The Pacific Research Institute’s study of Tort Reform among states examines 25 reforms adopted by states in an effort to control tort law suit losses and tort insurance programs. According to the 2008 Tort Liability Index Pennsylvania ranked 45th among all states, earning the label of a “sinner” state–states that have high monetary tort losses and/or high litigation risks with weak tort rules on the books.

The sinners are likely to face high and rising tort liability costs in the future as lawsuit abuse goes unchecked. In other words, Pennsylvania is a loser in the race for jobs and business investment.

The analysis reveals that between 1996 and 2006 states experienced large savings from enacting tort reforms. Pennsylvania could gain substantial savings by incorporating such reforms.

The state ranks low on categories of appeal bonds caps, caps on non-economic damages, caps on punitive damages, and caps on damage awards in medical-malpractice lawsuits. As far as substantive-law rules are concerned, Pennsylvania should enact reforms in class-action rules, contingency-limits, negligence standard, joint and several rules, early offers, and brick repealer statutes.