N.J. attorneys fight law to help pay for malpractice insurance

April 1, 2005

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) has filed a lawsuit against the commissioners of three departments in the state, charging that a law requiring lawyers, physicians, and others to pay a $75 assessment for 3 years to help doctors in high-risk specialties pay for malpractice insurance is unfair and improper.

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) has filed a lawsuit against the commissioners of three departments in the state, charging that a law requiring lawyers, physicians, and others to pay a $75 assessment for 3 years to help doctors in high-risk specialties pay for malpractice insurance is unfair and improper. The state's lawyers contend that the law violates the US and state constitutional protections, and that the legislature overstepped its authority by setting rules for how attorneys could pursue malpractice claims, according to The Associated Press (1/31/05).

Edwin McCreedy, president of the NJSBA, who is handling the lawsuit, believes that the state law infers that attorneys are to blame for the medical malpractice insurance crisis-an assumption that is not true, he said. Proponents of the law say that attorneys should share the burden because their malpractice lawsuits have contributed to the crisis.

The law was enacted as a compromise measure in lieu of caps on medical malpractice settlements. The fund is expected to collect $26.1 million per year.