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Damage Caps Violate Your Constitutional Right To A Trial By Jury

The state and federal constitutions guarantee citizens of Wisconsin the right to a civil trial by jury. Yet, the so-called tort reformers want to limit your rights under the constitution. These attacks come in many forms such as making it more difficult to file a lawsuit, adding protections for corporate defendants, and damage caps.

 

The state and federal constitutions guarantee citizens of Wisconsin the right to a civil trial by jury. Yet, the so-called tort reformers want to limit your rights under the constitution. These attacks come in many forms such as making it more difficult to file a lawsuit, adding protections for corporate defendants, and damage caps. Damage caps directly limit your right to a trial by jury, and worse than that these caps artificially limit the compensation you can recover. Imagine that your wife is killed because some one was texting and driving. Under the law in Wisconsin your non-economic damages are limited to $350,000. The jury could decide that your loss was worth $2 million, but thanks to tort reformers you will be denied justice. Let’s take another example. Assume you are in for a back surgery and the doctor negligently paralyzes you from the chest down. Assume further that you have a life expectancy of 35 years. In our tort reform climate, the maximum you can recover is $750,000 for your pain, suffering, disability, and being paralyzed for the rest of your life. Would you ever take that deal? Would you think it was fair to trade the ability to walk, hold your child, and feed your self, for $750,000? The jury’s decision does not matter. Damage caps impact those most seriously injured. If your injuries are valued at less than the caps you are compensated 100%. If your injuries are valued at twice the cap, you only get 50% of your damages. Those people who most need the money to compensate them for their losses are hurt the worst by tort reformers. The damage caps are an insult to the jury system. If you are on a jury, and are charged with figuring out the appropriate compensation, do you want your judgment replaced by that of the government? You and 11 other people listened to the evidence for days, debated it in deliberations, and came up with a just figure for the injured person. The tort reformers should not be able to replace your sound judgment with theirs. Contact me at dgahnz@lawtoncates.com if you have questions about this information.

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