In 2011, payouts to victims of medical malpractice were at the lowest levels…ever. Yes, you read that correctly. This shocking data was reported by the consumer watchdog Public Citizen.
Despite the hyperbolic declarations that doctors are being bankrupted by defending “frivolous lawsuits”, it turns out that’s completely false. The courts are not overrun by medical malpractice claims. In fact, payouts have been steadily declining for the past eight years.
It’s frustrating, as a medical malpractice lawyer, to not only be vilified for simply representing injured innocent victims but also knowing that the attacks are baseless.
It’s not just this most recent Public Citizen study that points out the flawed arguments of tort reform advocates. An independent study from the Congressional Budget Office showed that implementing harsh tort reform policies like capping damages would reduce health care costs by a microscopic 0.5 percent, according to the Washington Independent.
We all agree, even trial lawyers and tort reform advocates, that health insurance costs are way too high. Where we disagree is a mechanism to try and cut down those costs. Tort reform advocates believe in limiting a victim’s access to the court room or arbitrarily cap damages. Trial lawyers believe that costs should be reduced by replacing a fee-for-service system with a fee-for-quality system, reducing the occurrence of chronic diseases like diabetes, and reducing the number of preventable medical mistakes that lead to serious injuries.