Your Constitutional rights may be lessened, thanks to new Oklahoma Laws.
Three different laws concerning damages for liabilities went into effect November 1. Many of these laws show blatant disregard for the American Constitution – in fact, they trample your Constitutional rights.
These laws and caps on how much juries can award for medical and liability cases are definitely of interest to insurance companies.
However, they should also be important to defendants facing large verdicts, and companies who may be involved in products liability actions.
In Oklahoma, according to the American Tort Reform Association, the new laws limit non-economic damages to $300,000 in medical liability cases, “provided the defendant made an offer of judgment and the amount of the verdict is less than one-and-a-half times the amount of the final offer of judgment.”
This cap can be lifted if the judge and jury find evidence that the defendant’s negligent actions were:
1. In reckless disregard of rights of others
2. grossly negligent
4. intentional or with malice
It’s your Constitutional right to have a jury by your peers.Oklahoma is trying to make the state more business-friendly and easier on doctors’ malpractice costs, but there’s a lot wrong with these new laws.
After all, we still have something called the Constitution, which says everyone is entitled to a jury trial. These laws remove the power of a jury in deciding what’s best, a clear violation of the Constitution.
Even the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed. In June, the courts struck down several parts of Oklahoma’s tort reform, finding that the act imposed a restriction on the rights of citizens to access the courts due to the requirement of an affidavit of merit.
These affidavits, according to the courts, cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, which, to a normal citizen, is a ridiculous cost to “justify” taking a business to court for liability cases.
The most frequently used and successful argument against the constitutionality of cap statutes is that they violate the plaintiff’s right to a jury trial.
Nearly every state that has been challenged with liability caps face this argument, yet many do not uphold that constitutional challenge.
Trampling Your Rights
Everyone gets all up in arms about constitutional violations of their freedom of speech or right to bear arms. However, the constitutional right to a jury trial is being chipped away, and many do not even realize it.
Whether or not you believe that jury awards are out of control, the fact remains that these cap laws are simply unconstitutional. We have to fight this.
It’s your American right as a citizen.
Do you need help or advice concerning damages or liability cases? Feel free to call our lawyers at any time. Call us today at (405) 703-4567.