New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

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NJSBA Speaks Out Against Fast-Fix Remedies To Med Mal Crisis

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association spoke out today on medical malpractice reform with the release of a resolution opposing the $50 assessment on members of the bar to fund the Medical Malpractice Insurance Liability Excess Fund; caps on non-economic loss; and eliminating the two-year statute of limitations for the discovery of medical malpractice as the cause of the injury.

“The NJSBA is strongly opposed to any quick remedies that fail to address the myriad of issues involved in the medical malpractice insurance dilemma that physicians are experiencing,” says NJSBA President Richard J. Badolato, Esq.

“Demonstrations that the doctors are planning are absolutely not the answer and not a remedy. What is necessary is a comprehensive review of the entire issue in order to provide a real solution to help doctors and their patients.”

In testimony delivered before a joint public hearing of the Assembly Banking Insurance Committee and Health and Human Services Committee on Medical Malpractice Reform on May 1, NJSBA First Vice President Edwin J. McCreedy told committee members “there must be an accountability mechanism built into the proposal. If a physician is sanctioned by the State Board of Medical Examiners, or repeatedly found liable for medical malpractice by either settling a case or having a negative verdict issued, common sense dictates that a means must be created to reduce the doctor’s ability to receive premium relief proportional to the number of claims settled/verdicts issued.”

McCreedy also addressed the Senate amendment for all adult medical malpractice claims eliminating a tolling of the statute of limitations until a patient knows that malpractice was indeed the cause of the injury.

“The amendment ignores one of the key components of our civil justice system—a statute of limitations should not begin to run until the injured person has actual or constructive notice of the injury. Such a proposal would eliminate an important tenet of our system of civil jurisprudence,” he testified.

The NJSBA formed a Task Force on Medical Malpractice in January 2003 consisting of members of the bar who represent clients on all sides of the issues, doctors, hospitals, the insurance industry and injured patients. As part of its resolution, the NJSBA urges the Legislature and /or the governor to appoint with deliberate speed a study commission to immediately undertake consideration of the many facets of this difficult problem, with real solutions that enable doctors to continue seeing patients while allowing injured parties to seek redress in the courts prior to the institution of legislative reform.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.