Study: Illinois ranked among worst in tort laws and costs

Rob Luke Mar. 11, 2008, 3:23pm

SAN FRANCISCO -- The state of Illinois ranked in the bottom five states in terms of tort costs and laws, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pacific Research Institute.

Florida ranked worst in two key litigation-risk factors for business but will likely improve in future thanks to recent tort-reform measures, the nationwide study revealed.

The PRI's2008 U.S. Tort Liability Index also showed that Florida ranked worst of the 50 states in terms of tort costs and litigation risks while North Dakota ranked on top.

Colorado's rated the best tort laws while Rhode Island trailed that category.

But the rankings at face value present a somewhat misleading picture, lead author Dr. Lawrence J. McQuillan stated today. Recent tort reforms in Florida have radically improved the state's legal climate, placing the Sunshine State in the "salvageable" column and its tort climate is expected to improve.

North Dakota, on the other hand, appears to be overrated because "the state lacks strong tort reform laws and could be the next target for trial lawyers looking to strike gold," McQuillan noted.

THe PRI study ranked 28 variables to rank the tort climate of each state based on whether each state has laws on the books whose enforcement reduces "lawsuit abuse and tort costs." It used 13 variables to report monetary tort costs and litigation risks.

Last year's PRI study focused more on the overall costs of lawsuits to the U.S. economy. It concluded that the overall cost of the tort system amounts to over $65 million annually.

The Low Fives

Tort Costs
46. Montana
47. Illinois
48. New York
49. New Jersey
50. Florida

Tort Laws
46. Illinois
47. Maryland
48. New York
49. Vermont
50. Rhode Island

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