New poll shows majority of Kentuckians in favor of personal injury lawsuit reforms

10/27/2014 07:38 PM

A new survey paid for by the Partnership for Commonsense Justice, or PCJ, shows a majority of Kentuckians support legal reforms to personal injury law.

The PCJ is a 501(C )4 advocacy group which to is aimed at educating the public on “commonsense legislation to reform Kentucky’s legal system.” A look at the bills in their legal tracker include issues like medical review panels which drew vigorous debate between Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate.

In the past two sessions Republican Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, introduced legislation which would create those panels to screen lawsuits brought against nursing homes before they go to court.

In the survey 51 percent of Kentuckians polled say there should be reforms to the state’s personal injury lawsuit system. While 16 percent told the group the system should be “kept basically the same.”

The statewide survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies which polled 500 registered voters from October 13‐17, 2014. The survey breakdown is 39 percent Republican; 54 percent Democrat; 6 percent Independent. (The margin of error + – 4.4 percent.)

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said the current system has the commonwealth at a “severe competitive disadvantage with surrounding states and contributes to our well-known health care provider shortage.”

“It has become increasingly difficult for Kentucky businesses and caregivers to operate when bias toward personal injury lawyers and the hesitancy from our lawmakers to enact meaningful legal reform has been the pervasive policy for decades.”

The PCJ polled multiple legislative proposals to reform the system including limits on fees paid to attorneys and medical review panels.

The poll also revealed that Kentuckians strongly agree that reform is necessary to improve the state’s economy. 76 percent of those surveyed said “Kentucky’s medical malpractice climate increases healthcare costs for consumers and raises liability insurance premiums of health care providers.”

Three-quarters of voters also agree, or 77 percent in the survey said that “Kentucky needs to reform the state’s legal climate to enhance our economic competitiveness with other states.”

A majority of those polled also said that the personal injury lawyers were the problem with the system over business and healthcare providers by a margin of two-to-one.

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