BATON ROUGE, LA (Oct. 24, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released a study that reveals the total cost of the U.S. tort system is staggering. The ILR report, Costs and Compensation of the U.S. Tort System, estimates the total cost of tort litigation in each state, totaling $429 billion nationwide in 2016.
Closer to home, the cost of lawsuits in Louisiana are among the highest of any state. Families and businesses in Louisiana were forced to pay nearly $7 billion in expenses related to tort litigation in 2016 - equivalent to more than $4,000 for every Louisiana household. The impact on the Louisiana economy ranks among the top five states in the nation, as litigation costs equate to almost three percent of the state’s GDP.
The ILR report further shows the largest share of Louisiana’s tort costs are a result of automobile accident cases, ringing in at almost $3.4 billion in 2016. Year after year, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has supported a series of reform bills in the Louisiana Legislature to address this issue and bring costs down for Louisiana businesses and families but faces strong opposition from allies of an entrenched trial bar.
Today, LABI president and CEO Stephen Waguespack joined ILR in Washington for the launch of the report, speaking on a morning panel at the 2018 Legal Reform Summit. The experts took a deep dive into the cost of tort litigation for the average American family and how Louisiana shapes up compared to the rest of the country. Joining Waguespack on the panel was Paul Hinton, Principal of the Battle Group. The panelists were interviewed by Connie Lewis Lensing, Senior Vice President of the Legal Department at FedEx.
“On the heels of yet another negative report, we are staying focused on solutions,” stated LABI president and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “The costs of lawsuits profoundly impacts the ability of Louisiana employers to create jobs and for workers to keep more of their own hard-earned money. Reform to Louisiana’s legal system is a top priority going into next year’s important state election cycle.”
Waguespack continued, “Louisiana must take the opportunity to learn from this latest report. Not just about how our state can be stronger, but what these costs mean for Louisiana wallets and what other states are doing in this arena to ensure plaintiffs have access to a fair system without penalizing all businesses and households. The reality is that lawsuits are not just a technical issue that dies in the state legislature every year; this is a real-world problem that our businesses and families are fighting every day.”
Earlier this year, the ILR ranked Louisiana 51st in the country behind the District of Columbia for the worst legal climate in the nation. The new ILR report focuses specifically on the cost of torts paid in the U.S. tort system, using data on liability insurance premiums and estimates of the liability exposure of businesses and individuals that are uninsured or self-insured.
To read the report, click below.
Costs and Compensation the U.S. Tort System: https://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/research/2018-costs-and-compensation-of-the-us-tort-system.
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About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes. Find out more information at www.labi.org.