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4 Litigation Medical Malpractice Myths That Will Not Go Away

August 29, 2018

4 Medical Malpractice Myths

Expert Witness in Medical Malpractice

The myths about medical malpractice litigation will persist as long as healthcare expenditures keep escalating. Currently, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation they total about $3.3 trillion–compared to $1.4 trillion in 2000. And, malpractice litigation is blamed as one reason why.

MYTH: Medical malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of medical care.

This myth is sticky because the media hypes large jury awards.

REALITY: The U.S. Congressional Budget Office documents that malpractice litigation costs represent less than 2% of total healthcare spending. Those costs include legal fees, insurance expenses, and verdicts/settlements. In addition, the Civil Justice Resource Group found that only 2.9% of malpractice victims file lawsuits.

MYTH: Fear of litigation increases medical doctors’ malpractice insurance premiums, which they pass on to patients.

REALITY: When it comes to pricing malpractice premiums, the insurance industry doesn’t operate as it does with home or auto. Instead, it determines pricing primarily by economic conditions and returns on its own investments–not the number or amount of jury verdicts/settlements. Medical doctor David Belk also points out that the number of malpractice claims had declined 50% by 2017.

MYTH: The threat of litigation creates an adversarial dynamic in healthcare. Fewer of the best and brightest are opting to become healers and more are leaving practicing medicine. The shortage projected by the American Medical Colleges could reach more than 120,000 by 2030.

REALITY: Essentially a “perfect storm” has occurred in what was once a prestigious well-paying profession. The convergence of negative factors includes more attractive opportunities in STEM fields such as artificial intelligence, better compensation possible in management positions, the rules imposed by managed care, the growth of bureaucracy, and the shift to electronic record keeping. Anxiety about malpractice lawsuits is not high on the list.

MYTH: Many malpractice lawsuits are “frivolous.” For example, the patient for cosmetic surgery is unhappy with the new nose.

REALITY:  In his landmark book “The Medical Malpractice Myth,” Tom Baker explains how the U.S. legal system flushes out lawsuits without merit before they can go to trial. Also, it is unlikely that a lawyer, especially one operating on contingency, would accept such a case.

Unfortunately, the 4 myths can deter those who are victims of malpractice from seeking a legal remedy for losses such as wages as well as pain and suffering.

If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, let the skilled medical malpractice attorneys and lawyers at Lowenthal & Abrams help. Contact us now for a free consultation.

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