NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Tort litigation. A goal, a source of polarization, and a possible tool for prevention.
Ann NY Acad Sci 1989 Dec; 572:261-270
The current workers' compensation system, the tort liability system, and the role of the lawyer in protecting injured workers were described and discussed. The workers' compensation system was instituted at the turn of the century. Using the Veterans Administration as an example, the low win rate of workers' compensation cases was discussed; the preference of an attorney would be for a jury trial. There have been concerns that there will never be a consensus of opinion as to the cause of a particular injury and that a national board, if established, would necessarily be extremely conservative. The current regulatory system has not succeeded in protecting the public. Some of the problems with the current regulatory system were that not all the research pertinent to a given product makes its way into the literature and that which does is not always peer reviewed before being accepted. An additional problem with the regulatory process was that as a product moves through it, all of the actions are controlled by lawyers. Much of the emphasis currently has been to move away from the tort system and into a workers' compensation system as this will limit the liability of companies who injure people. By severely limiting damages and eliminating all aspects of blame, the injured worker is rendered powerless. The author considers the tort system as necessary because it provides the necessary incentives for both the worker to get significant compensation and the companies in terms of some risks and deterrence. A discussion of the paper followed.
NIOSH-Publication; Legislation; Regulations; Worker-health; Occupational-health; Occupational-diseases; Safety-measures
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division