22 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 270 (2012-2013)
An Examination of the Personal Injury Plaintiff's Struggle for Adequate Compensation under Government Rights of Reimbursement

handle is hein.journals/kjpp22 and id is 286 raw text is: AN EXAMINATION OF THE PERSONAL INJURY
PLAINTIFF'S STRUGGLE FOR ADEQUATE COMPENSATION
UNDER GOVERNMENT RIGHTS OF REIMBURSEMENT
Kaitlin M Smith
It is helpful to think of tort rules as the dials that can be
turned to influence the final outputs of the tort system.
INTRODUCTION
The realm of government rights of reimbursement held by publicly
funded health care programs is an extensive and often confusing area of law
that is unfamiliar to many attorneys and the general public alike. As more
Americans are becoming eligible for public health care benefits, under
Medicare, Medicaid, and programs provided for the Armed Forces, there is an
increasing need to understand the intricacies of these programs and the
important effects they have at every stage of the legal process. Rights of
reimbursement held by the government under these programs provide two
main functions in society; they allow the government to provide immediate
care to an injured plaintiff who cannot afford medical care up front, as well as
safeguarding taxpayers from an increased financial burden.
The National Center for State Courts found approximately 7,800 new torts
cases were initiated each business day in United States state courts during a ten
year study.2 A major consequence of this significantly high number of torts
cases is the substantial consumption of resources.3 Not only is the U.S. tort
1. LAWRENCE J. MCQUILLAN & HOVANNES ABRAMYAN, PAC. RESEARCH INST., U.S.
TORT LIABILITY INDEX: 2010 REPORT 38 (2010). The U.S. tort liability system works as an
industry, which consists of inputs that shape its outputs. The inputs of the tort system, such as
judges, juries, and tort rules and procedures shape tort outputs. In contrast, the outputs from the
U.S. tort system consist of monetary tort losses and tort litigation risks, such as cases filed,
attorney fees, damage awards, and settlement amounts. While voters, lawmakers and judges do
not directly control these output factors, they do have the ability to manipulate outputs, either
directly or indirectly, through changing the tort rules and procedures on the books (inputs). Id. at
23, 39.
2. Id at 17, 87 n.1.
3. Id at 17. Towers Watson quantified the costs of the U.S. tort system at $264.6 billion in
2010, or $857 per person, with an estimated growth in cost to $273.6 billion in 2013. TOWERS

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