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Best and Worst Tort States

Worst of the 50 states for tort costs and litigation risks is Florida, while the best is North Dakota. So says a new report from the Pacific Research Institute comparing the legal climates of all 50 states: U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2008 Report. Of state tort laws, Colorado had the best and Rhode Island the worst, the study found. Nota bene: The PRI is a think tank whose mission "is to champion freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility ... by advancing free-market policy solutions." Considering both tort costs and tort laws and what they say about the litigation outlook for businesses, the study grouped the states into four categories:

  • Saints: Cited as states well-positioned to contain tort liability, with low tort costs and few litigation risks, were Alaska, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Utah.
  • Sinners: States likely to see rising tort costs were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • Suckers: States with weak tort laws that "foolishly" see no need for reform were Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota and Virginia.
  • Salvageables: States with moderate to high risk but also moderate to strong laws were Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas.

So even though Florida ranks first in tort costs and risks, the report sees it as "salvageable" because of recent revisions to its tort laws that are likely to favor businesses in the future. By contrast, New York is a repeat offender as a "sinner" state because it has been slow to address its tort laws.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 18, 2008 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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