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N.J. Lawyers Still Liable for Medical Malpractice Premiums

Even though many New Jersey lawyers can't afford legal malpractice insurance, they're still required to pay for doctors' malpractice, according to this article, "Court won't let lawyers sue of $75 fee," Star Ledger (6/27/06). According to the article, back in June 2004, the New Jersey Legislature enacted the  Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act, which created a temporary fund to subsidize medical malpractice insurance premiums for physicians in high-risk specialties. To raise the $78 million needed for the fund, the Act provides for asessment of fees on doctors, dentists, chiropractors -- and lawyers.   

The New Jersey Bar sued, arguing that a $75 fee on lawyers singles them out from other nonmedical legal professionals and violates equal protection. The Bar also argued that there was no rational connection between the law and the fee, since only a small percentage of lawyers in New Jersey even handled malpractice cases. But a New Jersey court rejected the argument and refused to second-guess the Legislature.

As a former member of the New Jersey Bar, I know that it has a security fund for victims of legal malpractice. Why don't doctors have to pony up money for that?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 27, 2006 at 04:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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