Impact of Tort “Reform” on Women, Minorities, Elderly, Poor
In a word: bad.
Check this out. According to a study by Joanna Shepherd & Paul H. Rubin, The Demographics of Tort Reform (Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-17):
"Tort reform may not affect all segments of society equally. Studies have shown that many tort reforms disproportionately reduce compensation to women, children, the elderly, disadvantaged minorities, and less affluent people."
The authors look at different "reform" measures, like damage caps, and examine how these impact various segments of the population. For instance, in examining medical malpractice damage caps, they weigh the benefit from increased physician activitiy in tort "reform" areas (visit Center for Justice and Democracy for a critique of this assertion), against the reduced compensation for plaintiffs like women, who statistically generate less income than men.
This is an interesting look at the spillover effects of discrimination on tort victims whose claims are subject to tort "reform" measures. I guess upon reflection, it isn't that surprising. Think about who bears the brunt of societal injustices generally, and I guess it makes sense that these same groups would also bear the brunt of this particular injustice which limits Americans' access to adequate recourse through the courts.