Torts, Insurance, and Quasi-Regulations

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wondering why I recently was called upon to waste over an hour of my life filling out forms for our pediatrician to sign -- just so my children can use sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and itch cream at school -- I came across the following in a guest post by an attorney, at Lenore Skenazy's FreeRangeKids blog:

Where you have the influence or power, try to get organizations to self-insure so that they aren't subject to arbitrary rules by insurance companies. Even though you pay them to defend you against lawsuits, insurance companies are afraid of having to spend their money on an unpredictable suit even though it probably won't ever materialize. It's not their fault -- they need to protect their business just like everyone else. Still, they are looking out for every single little thing that could cause a lawsuit, no matter how unlikely. This kind of thinking encourages fear and contributes to the feeling that a lawsuit is just a matter of time. [bold added]
Tiffany Gengelbach is offering tips on what to do about fear of lawsuits, but has, in the process, revealed a huge source of de facto regulations on top of the already-onerous ones imposed by the state. I don't yet know whether this is why, in my particular case, I am having to ask a doctor to sign onto something I should have the authority to order myself, but I can see it. (Back in Missouri, I was able to do this.)

The entire piece is an interesting read on how a sensationalist press and a tort system in need of reform lend an air of plausibility to precautionary thinking and make daily life unnecessarily difficult in many unexpected ways.

-- CAV

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