A study based on a national survey of medical malpractice lawyers found that over 75% of medical malpractice lawyers reject over 90% of the medical malpractice cases they screen. As a result, over 95% of medical malpractice victims find it “extremely difficult” to find a medical malpractice lawyer to represent them unless their damages are significantly greater than the typical damages for their type of injuries.
It is not the medical malpractice lawyers who are at fault for many victims of medical negligence being unable to find a lawyer to represent them in a malpractice claim: medical malpractice tort reforms that have been enacted in many states that limit the amount of damages that a severely injured medical malpractice victim may recover result in fewer medical malpractice lawyers taking on fewer medical malpractice cases; “reforms” that limit the amount of attorney’s fees that malpractice attorneys may receive in successful claims result in medical malpractice lawyers being less willing to take on smaller medical malpractice cases; reforms that restrict the pool of qualified experts who testify in medical malpractice cases result in fewer available experts who then charge much higher fees for their necessary testimony, resulting in medical malpractice lawyers establishing higher thresholds for the malpractice cases that they are willing to handle; and, reforms that place the burden on medical malpractice victims to pay all or part of the defendants’ attorneys fees and expenses under certain circumstances raises the financial risks that medical malpractice lawyers must evaluate when deciding whether to represent a medical malpractice victim.
The statistics bear out the toll that restrictive medical malpractice tort reforms have taken on victims of medical malpractice: over the past twenty-five years, the number of medical malpractice victims who have recovered low damages awards have decreased by one-half.
What Are The Unfortunate Results For Innocent Medical Malpractice Victims?
Many legitimate victims of medical malpractice are unable to find an attorney to represent them in their malpractice claim and thus are not compensated for their very real injuries and damages, especially in many of the smaller medical malpractice claims. Even more important for anyone who receives medical services in the United States, the deterrent effect of medical malpractice awards that naturally leads to reduction in dangerous and risky behavior and to an increase in cautious behavior is thwarted — why take timely or costly precautions to prevent unnecessary harm to others if the cost of bad behavior is negligible? Moreover, incompetent medical providers are able to continue harming patients for longer periods of time because their reduced liability for catastrophic injuries allows them to continue to maim patients and destroy their families.
If there is reduced responsibility for high-risk behavior because tort reforms limit a medical practitioner’s financial exposure in the event that carelessness causes serious and permanent injuries, then the precept “if you break it you pay for it” that we were all taught as children and that we always have in the back of our minds when deciding whether to “do something stupid” becomes just another casualty in the deterioration of personal responsibility that is leading us to chaos.
“It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” (Ronald Reagan)
If you or a loved one may have been injured due to medical malpractice, you should promptly consult with a medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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