Four Truths About The U.S. Medical Malpractice System

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn prior blogs we have discussed myths regarding the medical malpractice system in the United States. Today, we blog about truths regarding the U.S. medical malpractice system.

Truth One: Medical Malpractice Cases Take A Long Time To Resolve

The average amount of time between when medical malpractice causes an injury and when a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed is approximately two years. It takes about another two years, on average, for the medical malpractice lawsuit to be resolved. If the medical malpractice case is particularly complex, or if it involves a minor, the time frames can be much longer. If the old adage that justice delayed is justice denied holds any truth today, then many medical malpractice victims are being denied justice in the United States.

Truth Two: The Medical Malpractice System In The United States Is Very Expensive

The costs of defending medical malpractice cases in the United States have roughly double since 1988 and represent about 20% of the amounts paid to medical malpractice plaintiffs. Medical malpractice plaintiffs are paying increasing costs to retain qualified medical experts on their behalf in their medical malpractice cases due to so-called tort reforms in many states that have placed onerous restrictions on medical professionals who may serve as qualified medical experts on behalf of medical malpractice plaintiffs, resulting in smaller net amounts in the pockets of medical malpractice victims as compensation for their injuries and losses suffered as a result of medical negligence. By imposing a range of moderate to severe restrictions on who may testify as medical experts on behalf of medical malpractice victims in medical malpractice cases, U.S. states that have imposed such restrictions have substantially reduced the pool of available medical experts in medical malpractice cases. Qualified medical experts are therefore able to demand much higher hourly fees for their expert services (the law of supply and demand fully applies to medical malpractice experts).

Truth Three: No One Involved In A Medical Malpractice Case Is Happy With The System

Neither medical malpractice plaintiffs nor medical malpractice defendants are happy with the medical malpractice system in the United States that takes far too long for the process to conclude. Medical malpractice defendants are distraught and defiant when their competence is questioned by others. Medical malpractice plaintiffs feel that their personal lives are being unfairly and unjustly exposed and made public when they have to provide all of their medical records (and often financial records) to the other side, whether they are relevant to the medical malpractice case or not, and they have to answer hours of questions in written form and in testimony under oath from the medical malpractice defendants’ lawyers regarding matters that are personal and seem to them to have no bearing on the wrongs done to them and the injuries they suffered as a result of their health care providers’ medical mistakes. The level of stress on all parties in a medical malpractice case can take a serious toll on all of those involved in the medical malpractice litigation, including the family members of the litigants.

Truth Four: Damages Caps (Limitations On The Amount That Medical Malpractice Victims Can Recover As Compensation For Their Injuries) Do Not Make Health Care Any Safer

Limiting the amount that victims of medical malpractice may receive as compensation for their losses, usually without consideration of the extent of the injuries incurred or the length of time that the injuries will affect the victims of medical negligence (for instance, the amount of the caps may apply equally to someone who suffered limited injuries and losses that may improve over time and to someone who will be in constant severe pain and will be confined to a wheelchair for decades due to medical negligence), does not make health care any safer for patients or for anyone else. Limitations on damages in medical malpractice cases also do not reduce health care spending or result in patient safety initiatives that reduce the severity of medical mistakes or the frequency of medical errors.

If you or someone you know have been injured as a result of a medical mistake, a medical error, or medical negligence, you should promptly seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 10:16 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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