Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Should doctors and lawyers be on the same side?

Sherry, a reader, brings up an interesting point:

Ca was the first to institute cap laws in the 70's. ( *250k ) However, the med mal insurance rates continued (a proved cycle) until they passed Prop. 103.

Insurance reform.It is insurance reform that works, not tort reform.

Are the insurance companies getting a free ride here?

Malpractice Insurance Companies: Stop Gouging

Washington (state) orders insurance companies to refund premiums to doctors:

After years of their lobbyists calling for caps on plaintiff's damage awards, squeezing lawyers' contingency fees and trying to throw litigation roadblocks in
the way of injured patients and their families, the state's doctors may have
found a legitimate way to cut medical malpractice premiums: Get their
malpractice insurance company to quit gouging them.

Monday, March 07, 2005

NY Times: Malpractice Lawyers are Resourceful

The New York Times published a piece on malpractice this weekend.

In states that already cap some damages - the ones labeled "pain and suffering" - the study finds that total awards have remained pretty much the same. This suggests that plaintiffs' lawyers have simply recast their cases to encourage juries to award the same amounts under different names - for, say, "lost wages."

However the study ignores cases that are settles out of court:

The new study, by Catherine M. Sharkey, a law professor at Columbia, may change
that. The study, to be published in the New York University Law Review in May,
analyzed jury verdicts in 22 states in 1992, 1996 and 2001. It did not consider
cases settled out of court
. It found that the median compensatory award in
states with caps on damages was $324,000, compared with $387,000 elsewhere -
figures that Professor Sharkey found were roughly equivalent after the data was
adjusted for variables like the kind and number of plaintiffs and defendants,
the percentages of local doctors and lawyers, and jurors' wealth and ages.