Medical malpractice reform has been a hotly debated issue for decades, with those in favor and against sweeping changes making equally valid arguments. Many different parties are interested in medical malpractice reform. It is best to consider the arguments for and against medical malpractice reform.
Medical Malpractice Claim Requirements
Medical malpractice cases involve complicated pre-litigation procedures compared with other types of cases. These include:
- A review of the plaintiff’s medical records
- An affidavit by which a medical expert justifies a plaintiff’s claim
- A plaintiff’s delivery of a letter of intent to file a lawsuit to the defendant
The majority of medical malpractice cases settle out of court, and damages vary by state and claim. Medical professionals with liability insurance must immediately notify their carriers upon receipt of the plaintiff’s intent to sue.
Arguments For Medical Malpractice Reform
Medical professionals are the most vocal proponents of malpractice reform. They argue that our litigious society promotes frivolous lawsuits, unfairly penalizes medical professionals, and diverts their attention from patient care to defend their decisions and actions. In some cases, a fear of being sued dissuades doctors from recommending and performing beneficial procedures or possibly practicing entirely.
Medical professionals and hospitals are also more likely to overpay for malpractice liability insurance to protect their interests. As a result, medical care costs rise to balance the cost of defending malpractice claims. Patients also experience a steady rise in their health insurance premiums.
Advocates for medical malpractice reform believe that more stringent criteria and monetary caps on damages currently determined by generous juries will deter plaintiffs from making petty claims of wrongdoing. They argue that smaller damage awards would not warrant the extensive time and effort that even frivolous lawsuits entail.
When medical professionals do not worry about the possibility of lawsuits, they are more likely to offer more and better care.
Arguments Against Medical Malpractice Reform
Those who oppose reforms to medical malpractice laws argue that setting caps on damages is unfair to patients who must live with the consequences of medical errors. Damage limits may be insufficient to cover the costs of lost wages or lifestyle changes they may face.
Opponents also believe that reforms can not prevent medical malpractice. They point out that negligent or incompetent healthcare providers can rely upon their liability insurance coverage to pay the damages they owe. Capped damages will rarely exceed policy limits, but uncapped damages may require medical professionals to contribute out-of-pocket payments. Many people believe this can effectively deter medical malpractice.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, speak with an experienced attorney who can help make your case.
If you have questions about a medical malpractice case contact a medical malpractice lawyer from Hall-Justice Law Firm to schedule a free consultation during which we can discuss the facts of your case.