One day last month I was sitting at a traffic light listening to the radio when tort lawyer John Morgan came on telling me that he was “for the people.” I glanced up at a billboard and saw two slick-looking attorneys telling me they would seek justice for me. If that wasn’t bad enough, a couple of minutes later a Tampa city bus came by totally covered in Pepto-Bismol-pink paint with a sign on the side that read, “1-800-411-PAIN” and an attorney’s name in large letters. Within just a couple of minutes I was being encouraged to file a lawsuit by three law firms. This is one reason why our emergency rooms are overcrowded. People involved only in minor fender benders are attempting to establish a record of injury. This is why doctors must practice unnecessary and expensive “defensive medicine” to protect themselves from lawsuits. This is why our medical expenses are higher and our insurance rates are going up. And that is why we lose businesses to Texas and other states that have enacted serious tort reform.
Florida trial lawyers arrogantly believe that their political contributions can control tort reform. There has been incremental tort reform in Florida the past few years but nothing like what Texas or Mississippi has enacted. Texas is rocking with new business transfers. We need real, consequential tort reform to really be competitive. Hopefully someday soon I will be able to drive down Dale Mabry and not see billboard after billboard encouraging me to sue somebody. That won’t happen unless our Legislature gets some backbone and passes meaningful tort reform.