Attorneys, Legal System Responsible for Surging Med-Mal Rates, According to Weiss Survey of Consumers

May 21, 2003

Nearly seven in 10 consumers polled blame attorneys and the legal system for surging medical malpractice rates, according to a recent online survey conducted by Weiss Ratings Inc.

While 68.6 percent of respondents found lawyers and the court system to be primarily responsible, only 4.6 percent faulted the lawyers’ clients – the medical patients bringing the legal actions.

The results of the online survey were based on voluntary responses from 1,340 individuals visiting the Weiss Ratings Web site ( Presented with the question, “Who do you feel is primarily at fault for today’s surging medical malpractice rates?,” respondents were asked to vote once for one of six choices.
The following is a summary of all responses received:

Who do you feel is primarily at fault for today’s surging medical
malpractice rates?

— Lawyers 48.4%

— The court system/juries 20.2%

— Insurance companies 12.5%

— Doctors/hospitals that have made mistakes 11.5%

— Medical patients bringing legal action 4.6%

— Other 2.8%

“Lawyers are always easy targets, especially when capping large jury awards has been publicly singled out as the key to lowering medical malpractice premiums,” said David Lackey, president of Weiss Ratings, Inc. “While a disincentive to lawyers in the form of award caps may be warranted, I don’t think it’s going to be the panacea everyone is looking for.”

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