Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy and research, founded in 1981 to support health policy education in the medical community domestically and worldwide, recently published the results of a study involving the cost of medical malpractice to the public. This well respected organization demonstrated that the “tort reformists” claim that medical malpractice litigation adds enormous costs to healthcare is simply a myth. In fact, Health Affairs estimated that less than 2.5% of all healthcare costs in the United States are in any way associated to medical malpractice litigations. That’s two and half pennies out of each dollar.
Frivolous Medical Malpractice Defense Costs to the United States
Health and Human Services data shows that in 2008, the United States spent $7,681 per person on healthcare related costs. Less than $200 of this sum is in any way related to medical malpractice law suits. Although the “tort reformist” likes to blame this cost on frivolous lawsuits, what we never hear about are “frivolous defenses.” Someone’s mother, father, son, or daughter is injured because a medical provider took short cuts or didn’t follow basic safety rules of medicine. Instead of accepting responsibility and making up for the medical mistake, many times a medical malpractice insurance company will decide to mount a frivolous defense. It pays thousands and thousands of dollars to high-priced lawyers and medical “experts” to fight the case. Deny and Defend – even when decency and economics demand fair compensation. The family comes into court with a fair and legitimate case and a jury turns them away with nothing. This happens every day – and it adds to this cost of health care
Medical Malpractice Victims vs. Tort Reformists
Tort reformists (and the insurance lobbyists who promote them) like to spin tales about the astronomical costs of medical malpractice litigation to the taxpayers and medical providers of America, but the Health Affairs study negates those accusations. It seems that the only people paying heavily for medical malpractice are those who commit it: negligent doctors and irresponsible pharmaceutical companies. Tort Reformists, medical malpractice insurance lobbyists, and corporate nursing homes all desperately want to prevent ordinary citizens from fair compensation for injuries that could potentially afflict them for the rest of their lives. These tort reformists and HMO lobbyist supporters want the government to place caps on how much a jury is allowed to compensate injured patients. Imagine that. An elected official making a law that says a jury is not permitted to pay victims of malpractice fair compenation – no matter what.
Is $100,000 for causing a young mother of 4 children to lose a breast to misdiagnosed cancer a fair cap? How about $250,000 for causing a father of 3 to spend a lifetime in a wheel chair; or $300,000 for a child who will live the rest of his or her life with a debilitating brain injury? These governement proposed caps on mothers, fathers and children’s compensation would also eliminate the possibility of punitive damages in the case of willful and intentional conduct. Research has shown that monetary punishments are one of the few effective ways to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable for purposelfully harming consumers in the name of profit. As for the medical field, most doctors are hard working, decent, and caring professionals. These doctors don’t need tort reform.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If you or a loved one have been vicitmized by medical malpractice or negligence, contact Messa & Associates for a free case evaluation. NJ and PA medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates, P.C. are experienced in earning fair and helpful compensation for those injured by medical negligence. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
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