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April 24, 1972

Contingent Fee System

JAMA. 1972;220(4):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200040101040

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To the Editor.—  I disagree with McCabe (219:756, 1972) that the contingent fee system is superior to what I recommended (218:1301,1971). My proposed law would practically eliminate vexatious litigation, the bonanza of the American Trial Lawyers Association; at the same time it would care for the poor man with a justifiable complaint. He would be furnished with a lawyer and the necessary funds to sue the wrongdoer.Further, my proposal, which is the law that they have in most of the civil law countries of mid-Europe (not in England), does not outlaw the contingent fee system. Nevertheless, with this law the contingent fee arrangement will no longer be a major factor in promoting malpractice suits, as most physicians think it does at present.The contingent fee system does not deter baseless claims as McCabe contends; it does just the opposite. It promotes vexatious litigation.Thus far, physicians have