When someone wins a medical malpractice case, whether through a settlement or at trial, they are awarded a certain monetary amount. The doctor or hospital’s insurance company then makes the payment to the person’s attorney, who receives a percentage before paying out the bulk of the award to their client.
Medical malpractice compensation can be a controversial issue. Doctors and hospitals have to buy malpractice insurance to protect themselves, and some people claim it actually costs all of us in the long run.
On the one hand, a mistake due to medical negligence can take everything from a person: money, health, even their lives. I see this every day as a Memphis medical malpractice attorney. They need their bodies and finances restored, and it can be a painful process getting there.
But on the other hand, isn’t medical malpractice insurance way too expensive for doctors? And doesn’t it raise the cost of health care in general?
I don’t believe so, and here’s why:
First, the cost of medical malpractice in the US is actually a drop in the bucket in relation to overall health care costs. In fact, many doctors pay less in malpractice insurance than American families pay for normal health insurance (which we all know can be very expensive in its own right).
Second, while the insurance can be expensive for doctors, especially in high-risk fields and certain states (hello, NY), it doesn’t appear to be medical malpractice’s fault. To reduce the costs, some states have tried to limit medical malpractice lawsuits by passing laws to prevent them. This is called tort reform, and data has shown that while it does limit the amount of malpractice cases, it actually doesn’t really limit the cost of insurance for doctors.
In fact, rather than blaming lawsuits for the price doctors pay, we might want to blame the insurance companies for price-gauging. As I said in a previous post:
Insurance premiums don’t just cover bottom line expenses at insurance companies. They get invested and/or placed into large, interest-earning accounts. They make the insurance company tons of money on the back of doctors. When the investments go bad, and stockholders start to complain, what do the insurance companies do? They raise the price of the insurance and cripple the doctors trying to get by.
So let’s not blame victims of legitimate medical malpractice for the high costs of health care. Let’s make sure they have what they need to move one with their lives and get better.
If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, don’t wait. Contact me today to discuss it at no charge.