AIA Applauds N.J. Tort Reform Bill

October 3, 2002

The American Insurance Association (AIA) applauded a bill introduced by New Jersey State Senator Joe Kyrillos Jr. that would establish caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice liability suits.

“The escalating underlying costs of the litigation system for medical malpractice have resulted in much higher insurance premiums and are driving companies to cease writing this line of business in New Jersey,” said Jack Andryszak, AIA assistant vice president, AIA mid-Atlantic region. “AIA supports the tort reform measures in the bill, which should help control the costs of litigation in medical malpractice cases.”

SB 1902, introduced Monday, includes a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for less serious injuries, and a $500,000 limit for non-economic damages in more serious injury cases.

“This type of legislation should help the market over time. In other states, such as Maryland, that have enacted non-economic damages caps, the markets and premiums have been much more stable. This element of SB 1902 would limit the frequency and severity of medical malpractice lawsuits,” Andryszak said.

The bill also would establish standards for the hiring of expert witnesses by requiring a certificate of merit as to the validity of the lawsuit and providing voluntary mediation. “These steps should help streamline cases and avoid specious claims,” said Andryszak.

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