WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)--Advertisements seeking potential plaintiffs for medical malpractice lawsuits are flooding the nation's airwaves, a legal watchdog group said Tuesday.
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform said the number of the TV spots has increased from about 10,150 ads in 2004 to more than 156,000 ads in 2008, marking a nearly 1,400 percent increase in four years.
The ILR, which owns this publication, also said spending on med-mal advertisements has increased from $3.8 million to nearly $62 million during the same period.
In a statement, ILR President Lisa Rickard said medical malpractice litigation is a growing part of the U.S. legal landscape.
"Lawsuits are ultimately a business driven by the plaintiffs' bar, and when you see the marketing of medical malpractice lawsuits exploding like this, it tells you that these lawsuits are a growing sector within the larger lawsuit industry," Rickard said.
The ILR study was conducted by the Campaign Media Analysis Group.
Rickard noted that in August, Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean said President Barack Obama's push for a national health care overhaul would likely not contain legal reforms because trial lawyers, a key Democratic constituency, oppose them.
"This study is yet another piece of evidence that we need meaningful medical liability reform as a key ingredient of any workable healthcare reform package," Rickard said.