Posted on September 28, 2009 in Personal Injury
Tort laws, the laws that define what constitutes a legal injury and the compensation a victim can receive in an injury lawsuit, are under frequent revision and reform. These Tort law reforms can both positively or negatively impact a plaintiff in a personal injury case, and are often complicated and difficult to understand. To help our clients better understand the effects that Tort law reform might have on their personal injury lawsuits in Kentucky, the Byrnes law firm has prepared a brief primer explaining some of the more commonly proposed reforms to the Tort laws.
There are many different types of Tort law reform, and no two are exactly the same. The most commonly proposed Tort law reforms, however, have to do with limiting the kinds of injuries and incidents a plaintiff may seek compensation for, and how much they can receive in damages.
The single biggest goal of Tort reform is to limit the amount of non-economic and punitive damages a plaintiff may seek. Non-economic damages are any damages that a fixed price can not be placed on, such as pain and suffering, loss of life, and other physical injuries. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and are the civil law equivalent of criminal fines. Certain Tort law reforms would limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded for non-economic and punitive damages, and significantly reduce the settlement you can receive.
Statute of Limitation Reform
In most states, there is a statute of limitations that governs how long after an incident a plaintiff can sue for damages. These statutes are designed to encourage plaintiffs to seek damages while their memory of the incident in still fresh in their mind, and prevent a defendant from having to worry about being sued for an injury that occurred many years earlier. In the state of Kentucky, the statute of limitations on personal injury is one year. Certain Tort law reforms aim to either increase or decrease the statute of limitations on personal injuries.
An increase in the statute of limitations allows an injured party more time to seek compensation, which is particularly important in cases of medical malpractice, where an injury may not be discovered until years later. No matter what kind of injury you have sustained, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to be sure your case is filed within the statute of limitations.
Contingency Fee Reform
Many plaintiffs can not afford to hire a Kentucky personal injury lawyer an hourly-basis. To help ensure that their clients are still able to receive legal advice and representation, lawyers often work on a contingency-fee agreement. In these situations, an attorney will pay for all legal expenses out of pocket in return for receiving a percentage of the damages awarded at the resolution of a case. Some Tort reforms seek to eliminate contingency fees, making it impossible for some clients to pay for the legal representation they need and deserve.
Article Provided By:
Byrnes Law Office
6010 Brownsboro Park Boulevard, Suite G
Louisville, Kentucky 40207
To help our clients better understand the effects that Tort law reform might have on their personal injury lawsuits in Kentucky, the Byrnes law firm has prepared a brief primer explaining some of the more commonly proposed reforms to the Tort laws.