In recent years, one of the many hot-button political issues that has dominated the news around the country has been tort reform in medical malpractice cases. Different states and levels of government have considered different statutes, but the basic commonality among them has been placing a limit on certain types of damages that injured patients could recover after being harmed while obtaining medical care. These limits were designed to lower the number of claims that were made that were allegedly frivolous and they were supposed to prevent what is known as defensive medicine.
A report was recently published that concludes that the current state of medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States presents a mixed bag in terms of trend analysis. The report, which was published in the journal known as Business Insurance and that can be found here, covers statistics regarding claims that have been filed, the state of insurance and the effect of tort reform on the size of verdicts that have been reached in those specific jurisdictions.
The report was released last week at the annual conference that was held by the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. The statistics were mined through a collaborative effort between the ASHRM and Aon Risk Solutions. The data included the following:
- No increase in hospital professional liability claim frequency is expected in 2014.
- Medical malpractice claim severity is growing by a factor of 2.5 percent per year, the lowest rate in 14 years.
- Medical malpractice claims will represent 60 cents for every 100 dollars of hospital revenue.
- Hospitals have been reducing medical malpractice costs by improving patient safety and self-insuring for medical malpractice claims.
- States with tort reform laws in existence have seen a recent increase in medical malpractice severity that is steeper than the national trend.
Clearly, this data can mean a lot to different people who may be looking at all of this from a different point of view. What it tells us, as our firm has been serving clients as New York medical malpractice lawyers for 42 years, is the following:
- All of these horror stories regarding ‘skyrocketing costs of medical malpractice claims’ are myths.
- Hospitals are not under constant threat of extinction because of defense costs for medical malpractice claims.
- People who bring medical malpractice claims are not influencing the costs of healthcare.
- Tort reform laws do not seem to dissuade all people from bringing claims nor are they preventing large verdicts.
Basically, people who have been wronged as a result of negligent medical care have legal rights and they need to explore them when they are forced into this situation. If this includes you or someone you love, do not allow yourself to be pressured into thinking that you are the problem or that you are inflicting a negative impact on society, as these numbers show that you are not. Instead, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.