Volume 12, 2007
Ronald J. Rychlak
Tort Law, Free Will, and Personal Responsibility
The tort law system is designed to assure that a harmed individual has recourse to the legal system. That serves the common good. Over the past few decades, however, tort law has changed so that it now encourages lawsuits designed to maximize recovery regardless of culpability. This comes at great expense to the community-affirming values of apology, acceptance of responsibility, and forgiveness. As legislators and judges consider reforms, the goal must be to return to a system which affirms the dignity of the person and affirms the community by placing blame only on those who are truly responsible.