New Jersey lawmakers neared a compromise measure to address a medical malpractice insurance crisis that has led doctors statewide to stage a three-day work slowdown. The measure would limit pain and suffering damages paid by malpractice insurers to $300,000 per case and, for larger awards, establish a reinsurance-type plan funded by taxing insurers, doctors and lawyers. The compromise measure could move out of committee by Monday and be up for vote by the full Legislature later this month, said Sen. Joseph Vitale, co-chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. About 300 physicians demonstrated outside Vitale's office in Woodbridge, N.J., today, the third day of the work slowdown. "We've crafted a product with an enormous amount of tort reform in it that would address their main concern -- the cost of their policies," Vitale said. But he admitted that doctors are "skeptical" of the reinsurance fund. "They view (the fund) as a pile of money for lawyers to attack," he said. -- by Cinda Becker
Amid doctors' protests, N.J. addresses tort reform
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