Tort reform and medical malpractice caps are being discussed at the federal level to limit a victim’s non economical damages (pain and suffering) to just $250,000. Some states already have this cap in place. And it is horrible for victims who are seriously injured or killed due to a doctor’s negligence but are limited in the amount of compensation they can obtain. For instance, if a victim is mangled by a doctor which results in the loss of a victim’s legs, and a jury returns a verdict of $750,000—which would be extremely reasonable for that injury—the victim will only recover $250,000. How is that far?
With the current healthcare reform efforts and the clam of higher healthcare costs, many politicians are claiming medical malpractice victims for increasing the costs of healthcare. They say the lawsuits are the major increase and they need to be capped. Lawsuits are frivolous and a waste of resources. They say victims and lawyers are increasing healthcare costs which costs all of us more money.
But is that true?
According to research, medical malpractice lawsuits account for just 2.4% of healthcare spending. Reports also show that this figure includes expenses of litigation, defensive medication, time away from work, and the settlement figure, among other amounts. That is, not all of that 2.4% is the amount for the victim! Of it, about 1% or less is actually the settlements to victims.
That’s right. About 1% or LESS of healthcare spending is from medical malpractice settlements or verdicts. A cap would simply have a barely noticeable effect on healthcare spending—for the rest of us. But on a victim, it would be absolutely limiting, devastating, and even unconstitutional.
Of these settlements and verdicts, a study has found that the overwhelming percentage are meritorious and very few frivolous claims receive any money. And those that do receive money receive much less than normal. What is even worse is that 30% of medical malpractice cases with real claims actually ends up receiving nothing—nothing! That means 30% of victims get nothing and their rights are not protected at all.
With actually costs being about 1% for medical malpractice verdicts, capping medical malpractice verdicts is absolutely unacceptable and only harms victims. There will be NO change in the current healthcare costs with this. It is a red herring or straw man argument, just made to distract you. Real victims are hurt and need their rights protected.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.