N.J. Lawyers Sue to Scrap Med-Mal Insurance Fee

January 30, 2005

  • January 31, 2005 at 12:22 pm
    Mike says:
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    Wow, I knew these guys were scumbags, but apparently their chutzpah knows no boundaries. I wonder why, if the only reason for high premiums was bad hoistorical investments by insurers, California and other states who have legislated limis on non-economic damages haven’t experienced the same crisis and rate increases as NJ? Did their insurers just make better investment decisions? Or why did companies that write med-mal in CA and NJ pull out of (or dramatically increase premium in) NJ but not CA? Wouldn’t poor investment results affect all of the insurance written, regardless of states?

    I just don’t understand how any thinking individual can possibly lend any credence to the lawyers’ obviuosly self-serving, demonstrably untrue assertion as to the causes of the problem in NJ. Baffling. Hope none of you NJ residents expect to have a high risk pregnancy – you’ve made your state one where no doctor will be willing to help you. Good luck.

  • January 31, 2005 at 12:49 pm
    Bill Reid says:
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    If personal injury lawyers weren’t so pathetic they’d be funny. Here’s a bunch of opportunists who mine injured people, exaggerated their damages, and belly up to the insurance trough for their contingent fee. They contribute nothing, risk nothing, and benefit from others. Blatant malpractice should be dealt with criminally, not just economically. A professional review board should hear alleged malpractice cases and render a decision, not a lay jury. Doctors deserve a jury of their peers, not sympathetic members of the public who continue to believe that “someone must pay”.

    $75 a year to an attorney, regardless of how incompetent, is little more than a lunch tab. Suddenly they’re squeeling like stuck pigs when faced with having to “pay to play”. I have two suggestions. First, $75. is a ridiculously small sum. I’d propose a 3% surcharge on all attorney earnings from medical malpractice settlements. This would amount to only a fraction of what the average doctor is forced to pay to protect themselves from these people. Second, I’d suggest doctors stop treating personal injury attorneys. Why help people who are out to destroy you for their own personal gain.

    Of course we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking the state legislature will do the right thing. How many of them are attorneys?

  • February 1, 2005 at 11:17 am
    Renee says:
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    I have read both Mike and Bill’s comments and can’t believe them! I practiced law in the Insurance defense field for 20 years. Initially handling first party claims and then as in-house for Kemper. After the run-off started, they closed their in-house operations and I lost my job. To increase my possibilities I took and passed the New Jersey Bar. NOW I GET to pay an additional $225.00 I can’t afford if I want to do closings, write wills etc.

    Do they really think ever attorney in NJ (employed or not, litigation, defense or otherwise) should help pay doctors premiums??

  • February 15, 2005 at 8:17 am
    William says:
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    If NJ’s reasoning behind charging lawyers the fee is because they blame lawyers for the increasing costs of premiums, don’t you think they should do an audit of the insurance companies and determine that, factually, this is true?

    Secondly, if they prove this, then should they not charge the lawyers who have brought medical malpractice cases into the courts thus ‘causing’ the increases?

    Thirdly, instead of this, why don’t they simply charge a percentage of every medical malpractice settlement and damage award and use that income to subsidize.

    I’m in law school (in another state) studying to be a real estate lawyer and I don’t ever plan on participating in a medical malpractice suit in my lifetime.

    If I were in NJ doing real estate law, creating leases, sales agreements, loan documents, etc, why should I be penalized for an increase in medical malpractice suits causing an increase in medical malpractice insurance?

    Insurers charge varying levels of malpractice based on what area of medicine a doctor practices, as such should the state not charge this fee based on the area of law a lawyer practices in?


  • February 19, 2005 at 3:21 am
    LR says:
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    I cannot believe lawyers are complaining about $75:

    Look at what the doctors have to contend with:
    1. 3% Fee on surgi-center revenue before expenses
    2. Almost 50% increase in license renewal fees
    3. Ever decreasing reimbursements
    4. Rising malpractice costs

    The list goes on. Lawyers continue to complicate the system, hold up progress and in the end benefit more than anyone.

  • February 20, 2005 at 6:03 am
    EQUIPOSE says:
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    Of all professions reputed to be created by Satan himself, I think it’s great that it’s now so fashionable to see the insurance industry as the whimpering fuzzy puppy in the corner, huddling from the dangerous boot of attorneys. Every attorney can know that sometime soon the public will love them again and demonize legislators for creating laws singling them out.

    The insurance industry, historically, has been about as popular as Catholic “kiddie priests”, gay swim teachers, used car sales men, taxmen, auto mechanics, leaflet distributors, reporters, excisemen, politicians (ie, New Jersey legislators), traffic cops, telemarketers, televangelists, pornographers, pick pockets, grand inquisitors, tyrants, fascists, oh, and mimes.

    I remember the days of public outcry for insurance companies to pay out on good claims. When people marched down to an attorney’s office and said “go get that damn insurance industry that takes thousands of dollars from me each year and won’t payout several hundred dollars on a claim.” Now our fickle public is saying “oh you dreaded attorneys, pay the insurance companies for making them payout on thier policies.” Apple Pie.

    The buzz is so widespread that some of the attorney critics must become the Plaintiffs at times. I wonder if they choose the attorney who has consistently caused the least damage to insurance companies bottom lines. I wonder if they take on the wonderful doctors and insurance companies on their own so as to avoid any Plaintiff’s attorney from benefitting.

    If a crisis exists, rather than uncomfortably squeezed profit margins, maybe it is the fault of the Defense attorneys (keeping attorneys comfortably in the crosshairs), because Insurance Defense Attorneys did not study and train to protect the insurance companies, then Plaintiffs might be able to go head to head with insurance companies.

    Then Plaintiff’s could experience the great thrill of successful legal negotiation and litigation with, especially with the assistance of all of those Free Medical Experts who help Plaintiffs describe the technical aspects of things like why they can’t have any more children, move their left arm, feel their children kiss the left side of their face anymore, or hold their bowels.

    If malpractice is essentially self-regulated with medical review panels being more and more sensitized to the required profit margins of their insurance companies, attorneys should be ready to be showered with public affection and a cry to make right what legislation has created.

  • February 24, 2005 at 7:18 am
    Ellen says:
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    I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying Bill. As a healthcare consultant (and attorney by training) here is what I can tell you:

    1. Med mal attorneys make a lot more money than doctors and the attorneys that represent the insurance companies.
    2. Less than one quarter of all malpractice suits have any real merit or damages – attorneys are playing the odds looking for a settlement and don’t really want to go to trial unless they need real bucks to pay their ex-wifes. Juries are not made up of doctors peers – just people who assume that a doc makes a lot of money and they are jealous.
    3. Does anyone in their right mind really believe that there are that many bad doctors in the state to sustain sizeable incomes in legal practices that only handle med mal? Keep in mind NJ has 22,000 doctors and 35,000 lawyers.
    4. Yes, jury verdicts are out of control. How can any attorney tell you that they are not given a recent $75 million verdict in Essex county?

    Smoke and mirrors from the NJ Trial lawyers. I guess we should all be paying them for being so ethical and upstanding.

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