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Report: Hoosier tort system 'salvageable'

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Indiana's tort system ranks 22nd nationally but is on the way to doing a better job because of laws on the books, according to a comparative study released today by a California research group.

The non-profit Pacific Research Institute compared the legal climates of all 50 states' tort systems in its report U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2008 Report http://special.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/2008/Tort_Index/.

A co-author says the group hopes the rankings will encourage state officials and residents to enact tort reforms, or to enforce and defend those already in place.

Overall, Florida ranked the worst while North Dakota ranked the best in terms of tort costs and litigation risks, the report states. A separate ranking evaluated each states' tort laws and put Colorado at the top and Rhode Island at the bottom.

For existing laws that could reduce lawsuit abuse and tort costs, Indiana ranked fifth behind Georgia, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado.

In ranking the Hoosier state at 22, the report considered output items such as cases filed, attorneys practicing to handle those cases, damage awards, and settlement amounts. The state also received a ranking of 23 for both monetary tort loss and litigation risk, the report shows.

Those rankings put Indiana at the "salvageable" status, which the report describes as having "moderate to high relative monetary tort losses and/or moderate to high litigation risks, yet have moderate to strong tort rules, probably as a result of recent reforms."
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