If unchecked, social inflation, driven by the myriad factors discussed in this study, will become a self-perpetuating phenomenon that sends improper signals regarding the value of damages to jurors, judges and defendants. This will lead to higher insurance premiums, financial strain on insurers, depletion of municipal resources and disincentives for businesses to take risks. This hidden “tort tax” benefits no one except plaintiff attorneys and their clients who engage in practices that lead to social inflation.

There are two broad responses that need to be pursued to combat the perpetuation of social inflationary pressures. One is to influence the development of public policy at the state and federal levels to reveal and control excesses. The second is for insurers and defense counsel to adopt and deploy more aggressive strategies that push back and formally object to tactics violating existing norms of courtroom behavior.

Author(s): Jerry Theodorou

Publication Date: December 2021

Publication Site: R Street