A surgical error, misdiagnosis, or medical mistake can lead to serious consequences. When a hospital, doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider violates their duty of care, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, many people don’t go through the process of filing a claim because they believe some common myths about medical malpractice. Here are some of the most common.
Too Many Frivolous Lawsuits Drive Up the Cost of Healthcare
America is one of the most expensive countries in the world with regard to healthcare. However, it’s not lawsuits driving the trend. Filing a medical malpractice suit is hardly a “get rich quick” scenario – in fact, some cases take many months or years. It’s not a simple matter to prove medical malpractice – pursuing a claim takes witness testimony and appropriate evidence.
True incidents involving medical malpractice are not frivolous, nor are they commonplace. According to the National Center for State Torts, only 6% of all civil lawsuits filed in the U.S. are due to medical malpractice. Additionally, the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed 1,500 medical malpractice lawsuits and found that fewer than 3% lacked the substance to prove liability. Frivolous lawsuits don’t drive up the cost of healthcare because the vast majority of lawsuits aren’t frivolous – Americans only pursue these cases when they have overwhelming evidence pointing to misconduct.
Medical Malpractice Suits Discourage Physicians from Practicing
Some people worry that medical malpractice lawsuits will discourage people from entering medicine and contribute to the doctor shortage. However, data from the American Medical Association found that the number of doctors has doubled in the past 50 years. There is also no significant difference in the number of physicians practicing in states with mandated damage caps versus states with no caps.
When Doctors Pay Higher Insurance Premiums, the Costs Are Passed on to the Patient
Insurance rates do go up whenever you file a claim – anyone who has ever used their homeowners insurance or auto insurance policy knows this. Medical malpractice insurance premiums have risen dramatically in the past two decades, but this is due to the economic climate, not the number of settlements and jury verdicts.
Damage Caps Can Lower Insurance Rates and Lower the Cost of Healthcare
Finally, some people believe that capping the amount of damages a victim can receive for pain and suffering will benefit the healthcare system as a whole. On the other hand, all you have to do is look at the numbers to dispel this myth. States that have damage caps actually have medical malpractice premiums that are higher than those without caps. In fact, America’s largest insurance provider disclosed that settlements and verdicts had virtually no effect on premiums – but they increased premiums in Texas (a state with damage caps) a full 19%.
In short, medical malpractice claims play an integral role in our civil justice system by holding healthcare providers accountable for their actions. Don’t let one of these common myths keep you from seeking the compensation you deserve.