Attorney: Tort reform unnecessary

News Journal (Ohio)
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Michael Inscore does not argue malpractice insurance rates have increased dramatically, but he believes frivolous lawsuits and astronomical jury awards are not to blame.

As a Mansfield attorney Inscore has handled medical negligence lawsuits for 18 years. He is frustrated when he reads a newspaper story or listens to a newscast that alludes to frivolous lawsuits.

"There is no incentive for us to engage in frivolous litigation," he said. "In fact, most of the cases that come to me don't even go to court. There are lots of cases we don't take."

He argues huge jury awards do not cause higher rates, therefore making tort reform unnecessary.

Inscore said the falling stock market and questionable accounting practices are the real reasons premiums have gone up. He cites data from the Center for Justice and Democracy, an organization working to educate the people about the civil justice system and the dangers of tort reforms, to back up his argument.

"Insurance companies make a lot more money from the stock market than they do with the premiums they charge," he said.

When the economy is good, insurance companies compete for money to invest in the market. That competition, according to the Center for Justice and Democracy, may result in lower insurance prices. But when the stock market struggles, investment income decreases. Insurance companies respond by increasing premiums and reducing coverage.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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