By Don Nelson, Athens Banner-Herald, Ga. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 13--REPORT DEBUNKS LIABILITY CAPS' EFFECTIVENESS: Florida lawmakers, who are working on legislation designed to stem skyrocketing liability insurance for doctors, should heed a report recently released by Weiss Ratings Inc., a Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based rating and analysis agency, For some time now across the country, insurance companies and medical professionals have blamed every-increasing malpractice insurance premiums on overzealous plaintiff lawyers, frivolous law suits and "out-of-control" jury awards.
The insurance industry and doctors argued that tort reform -- government regulation of penalties allowed in cases of proven malpractice -- would help reduce the costs of insurance.
The report and news release from Weiss contradicts the case for tort reform, though.
According to the Weiss report, caps on non-economic damages -- the money awarded an injured patient for punitive damages in a malpractice case -- have benefited the insurance companies but have not eased the pocketbooks of medical practitioners.
Weiss Ratings determined that while insurance companies in states with caps on court-determined malpractice punishments enjoyed …