Cassidy insists everyone in the study was given informed consent, and that his research shows the benefit of focusing on rehabilitation instead of legal remedies. "Plaintiffs' experts and lawyers certainly benefit [financially] from a tort system. ... I'm saying, why do that? Why not help people get better twice as fast and take [lawsuits] out of the equation?" says Cassidy. The researcher says that the tort system added $4 billion in excess costs to the U.S. medical bill in 1993.
In an editorial accompanying the study, author Richard Deyo, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington in Seattle, notes that many treatments for whiplash have not been thoroughly tested. For policy makers, this study should encourage further experimentation with systems like the one in Saskatchewan.
The research was supported by a grant from Saskatchewan Government Insurance -- the public agency that provides the majority of motor vehicle injury insurance in the province of 1.1 million people.