It’s become common for Louisianans to experience sticker shock while paying their car insurance bills. We all know insurance rates are too high and that lawsuit abuse is the root cause of the problem. But what many don’t know is that the continued abuse of our legal system is also leading to many of the other major problems facing our state.
Louisiana’s current legal structure makes lawsuits more common and costly, which creates an overflow of lawsuits all around the state and leads to insurance companies raising the price of car insurance for everyone living here.
So, aside from the pain we feel each time we make our monthly car insurance payment, what are the other costs of Louisiana’s overly litigious ways? A new study conducted by economic and financial analysis firm The Perryman Group helps to answer this important question.
The study estimates that compared to the costs faced by citizens in states with average legal systems, Louisianans face an additional $1.4 billion in direct costs and $1.9 billion in gross state product losses annually. These numbers are significant, as the nearly $2 billion in lost economic growth is often more than the state has in any quarter.
Additionally, lawsuit abuse costs each Louisiana citizen approximately $417, which could pay for four months of car insurance for the average resident. What’s worse, these costs translate to nearly 20,000 jobs lost for Louisiana. At a time when the state’s unemployment rate has been steadily climbing to nearly five percent and 103,000 Louisianans are unable to find employment, Louisiana could desperately use these jobs.
These findings also further support a study last year commissioned by the Pelican Institute, which concluded that government sponsored lawsuits against oil and gas energy providers cost 2,000 jobs over a two-year period.
Now that we’ve identified the depth of the problem, what are some ways we can get Louisiana’s legal climate to a place where it’s no longer crippling jobs and opportunity for Louisianans?
The Pelican Institute has outlined a number of solutions to solve this critical issue, including reducing the jury trial threshold, ending venue shopping, and limiting non-economic damages, to name a few.
With the legislature having a clear mandate from the people of Louisiana to fix this problem, let’s hope this study further reinforces that the state simply can’t afford to wait another year to reform its fundamentally broken legal system. Louisiana’s working families are depending on it.