The debate over who should decide the value of an injured victim’s claim has taken a deeply constitutional turn.
Supporters of the insurance industry’s lobbying efforts to place arbitrary caps on damage claims, for victims of car accidents, faulty products or other negligent companies, prefer for politicians (who have never heard a bit of evidence on the case) to set arbitrary limits on damages in order to protect their pro-business financial supporters. Critics of those caps, often trial lawyers acting as advocates for those victims of personal injury, argue that a jury of one’s peers who actually listens to the victim, the defendant, the treating physicians and the experts, are in a far superior position to determine a jury verdict. The Courts, in the latter instance, have significant authority to control the occasional outlandish verdict.
But the recent debate has now seized upon constitutional arguments which clearly show that the government is forbidden from enacting these limits—just as they are forbidden from confiscating guns or limiting our right to worship. Thomas Jefferson once said that no device has ever been invented to better put a check on the tyranny of government than the right to trial by jury. We suppose Mr. Jefferson would not approve of the current neutered version of that protection.
An esteemed lawyer, who is NOT a trial lawyer and NOT even a member of the trial lawyer association in Mississippi, has written a lengthy piece, published in one of only two peer reviewed law reviews in our state, has made a compelling case that such laws violate our American constitutional protections. In other words, supporting these legislative limits is un-American. You made read the entire article at http://www.msaj.org/docDownload/701356