By Marcus Rayner | Home News Tribune, to the Editor
New Jersey’s medical professionals often wear multiple hats. In addition to practicing medicine in a state with comparatively high medical malpractice premiums and weak evidentiary standards, our shrinking pool of doctors are often small business owners who must navigate New Jersey’s challenging business climate. Think of your dentists, general practitioners and gynecologists.
It’s a difficult climate for any small business to operate in New Jersey, but doctors in private practice feel the effect of New Jersey’s abused civil justice system both as small business owners and as physicians.
A survey conducted by the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (NJLRA) and Monmouth University Polling Institute examined the impact of New Jersey’s civil justice climate on a variety of small business types. The results were alarming: approximately one in five small businesses have been sued in the last five years and another one in three expect to be hit with a lawsuit in the near future.
Many lawsuits brought against our businesses wouldn’t see the light of day in other states, but weak civil justice laws in New Jersey have opened the door for exploitation. Moreover, malpractice insurance premiums have skyrocketed, making neighboring states appear more attractive for doctors to practice.
The Council of Teaching Hospitals estimates that New Jersey will be short thousands of doctors by the end of the decade, posing a potential public health crisis only a handful of elected officials have addressed. The reality is that ignoring tort reform is costing New Jersey one good doctor at a time.