Four Myths of Medical Malpractice Cases

Swirling around in the recent debates on health care in this nation has been a lot of information and misinformation about medical malpractice lawsuits and their effect on health care rates. Politicians throw a lot of statistics around to support their own side of the debate, but how do you know what to believe?

Here are the top four medical malpractice myths debunked:

  1. Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up health care costs for all of us. According to a Dartmouth medical study, medical malpractice payments over the years have grown at a rate nearly identical to health care costs overall. In 1991, malpractice payments accounted for about $10 out of every $1,000 spent on physician and clinical services in 1991. Guess what? In 2002 (the most recent data available), after adjusting for inflation, malpractice payments accounted for about $11 out of every $1000.
  2. There are too many frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. Harvard’s School of Public Health studied over 1,400 medical negligence claims and found that 97 percent of those claims had merit and, additionally, 80 percent of the claims studied involved death or serious injury. The study concluded that characterizing the malpractice system as a system that is overrun with frivolous litigation is greatly exaggerated.
  3. Medical malpractice drive up doctors’ premiums. Research has proven that there is not much correlation between payouts for malpractice lawsuits and malpractice premiums paid by doctors. According to researchers at the Americans for Insurance Reform, the skyrocketing rate increases have been caused by the economic cycle of the insurance industry that is driven by declining interest rates and investments much more than it has been by medical malpractice cases.
  4. Medical malpractice litigation is forcing doctors to stop practicing. The number of practicing physicians in this country has been growing steadily for decades. In 2007 (the most recent year for which data are available), there were 941,304 physicians in the United States, nearly 20,000 more than the year before.

As you can see, there is a lot of misinformation floating about regarding medical malpractice and its effect on health care costs. If you or a family member has suffered harm because of medical malpractice, contact an experienced Tucson medical malpractice attorney today to help you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

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