A new study out from the non-partisan Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has some startling — and discouraging — new numbers based on exhaustive research that shows for the first time that total tort costs in this country may in fact be several times higher than first thought. The Tillinghast study (which we’ve written about) has typically put the number at over $260 billion. But the new PRI study — released yesterday by the American Justice Partnership — shows that the direct and indirect costs of the American tort system total a whopping $865 billion. This would put our tort costs in the top 20 of world GDP, larger than the entire GDP of Taiwan. We already had a 32% cost disadvantage vs. our international competitors. This new research shows that number is moving in the wrong direction.
As we’ve said before, this is a national disgrace. To move this from the global comparison to your own household, this number represents $9,827 per family of four. By comparison, a family of four paid $6,884 in state and local taxes in 2004.
Here’s a link to the full study and here’s a link to our press release on the topic. As the enormous magnitude of this drag on our economy becomes known, let’s hope policy makers begin to curtail this litigation-happy culture in which we live.
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