States that have relatively low monetary tort losses and/or few litigation risks and relatively strong tort rules on the books. These states are well positoned to contain their tort liability costs in the future if the rules are implemented as written.
The U.S. tort system is an industry, and, like any industry, it consists of inputs and outputs. Tort-system
inputs are such things as courthouses, judges, juries, clerks, copying machines, law libraries, and the
rules and procedures on the books that shape tort outputs.
Tort-system outputs consist of the cases filed, attorneys practicing to handle the cases, damage awards,
and settlement amounts. In brief, the outputs from the U.S. tort liability system consist of monetary tort
losses and litigation risks.
As a rule, lawmakers and voters do not directly control these output factors;
they can best control outputs by changing the input rules and procedures on the books.
The inputs to the U.S. tort liability system are largely the rules on the books in each state that shape its
tort-system outputs. These rules are controlled by voters, legislators, and/or judges either directly or
indirectly in each state. It is helpful to think of these rules as the dials that can be turned to influence the
final outputs of the tort system—the monetary tort losses and litigation risks.