Will Medical Malpractice Reforms Work?

Medical malpractice is a complex area of the law. Some people think that medical malpractice needs to be reformed because it seemingly favors the patients. Let’s dive into some of the myths about malpractice and how lawmakers want to reform the process.

Myths About Medical Malpractice

America is a litigious society. Some people believe that many medical malpractice suits are frivolous due to the number of lawsuits that are filed. Most patients who file medical malpractice suits are not seeking revenge or just unhappy. They were seriously injured by their doctor and just want to pay their expenses. It’s estimated that only about 3% of malpractice lawsuits could be considered frivolous.

Another myth about medical malpractice lawsuits is that the victims receive huge payouts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most medical malpractice lawsuits result in awards that only cover the actual medical bills and maybe lost wages. Rarely do people receive more than a million dollars. 

It’s often believed that medical malpractice claims make health care costs rise. This can be disputed because medical malpractice claims are decreasing, while health care costs are still increasing. There just isn’t any correlation between lawsuits and health care costs.

A final myth that can shape people’s minds about reform is that most physicians are one malpractice verdict away from bankruptcy. Doctors don’t generally make the malpractice award payment out of their own pockets. They have insurance that protects them. While it is true that malpractice insurance costs are on the rise, medical malpractice lawsuits help hold doctors accountable for their actions.

What Reforms Are Being Proposed?

Lawmakers have many ideas about how to reform malpractice lawsuits. The most common idea is to cap payments at a certain figure. This means that patients could receive no more than the proposed figure. In 2017, lawmakers proposed a bill to cap noneconomic damages at $250,000. Critics say that this only shifts the burden from the wrongdoers to the injured party. In some states, caps are considered unconstitutional. Many studies about tort reforms have proven that reforms do not lead to a reduction in health care spending.

Medical errors are not an expected risk of healthcare. Doctors should not be careless and harm patients. Some errors are just unfortunate mistakes. Other errors rise to the level of negligence. As a patient, it can be difficult to know the difference. Consult with a lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer from Ward & Ward Law Firm, who can better advise you about your particular case.