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Pro-business judges may be hindering injury claims

A new report is arguing that big business has influenced the legal system to the point it is affecting the likelihood that an injured worker will succeed with filing a suit against an unsafe employer. This may come as alarming news for employees in Pennsylvania, especially those who believe they are at risk for an on-the-job accident. Researchers and experts that worked on the report examined many facets of this issue and found that business organizations have been financing campaigns for judges that tend to rule in favor of corporate defendants in tort claims cases.

To underscore this, the report includes a section detailing the six state supreme courts that had the highest amount of campaign contributions during the decade between 2002 and 2012. According to the report, there were nearly 1,500 cases that involved a claim against a business or a health care provider that was made by a person who was injured or whose property was damaged. The courts ruled against the plaintiff in seven out of ten cases. In later years of that decade, it seemed the likelihood for judges to rule in favor of defendants was even higher than the average: eight out of ten in some states.

Campaign contributions are not limited to the judicial branch of the government; they can also be found in the legislative branch. For some plaintiffs, this has made successful claims extremely hard because biased judicial decisions are coupled with legislative hurdles. Tort reform is one of these legislative hurdles, giving negligent parties a lesser amount of liability to answer to. This can even make finding an attorney willing to take this sort of case difficult. Still, if you have been injured on the job and believe your employer can be held responsible, you should reach out to a legal professional to decide if making a claim is the right choice.

Source:  Center for American Progress, "No Justice for the Injured" Billy Corriher, May. 15, 2013

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