Who pays for medical malpractice?
By: Darrell Castle
Hello, this is Darrell Castle. I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and this is the second video in our series on medical malpractice. Today, we’re asking the question, “who pays for medical malpractice?” And obviously if you have a medical malpractice claim – you were injured and you feel like it was medical malpractice – and you don’t make that claim, then you pay yourself. Either you yourself pay for your own pain and suffering, your own medical bills, your own hospital bills, or else your insurance company does – whether it’s some private company or whether it’s some government company.
But doctors carry their own insurance to cover for medical negligence. Everybody makes mistakes – even doctors, even hospitals, even nurses – and they carry insurance to cover that. Contrary to popular belief, those insurance premiums are not that excessive. They are affordable. In fact, I would wager they are less than what you pay for health premiums every year on average.
Now another myth we have to face in talking about who pays for medical malpractice is the myth that the lawyers are to blame for the high costs of medical malpractice.
Number one, it’s not that high because it’s been falling recently. The number of claims have been falling. The total amount of payouts have been falling. And so, the thing is somewhat stabilized.
You might read in the press sometimes that premiums are so excessive that doctors are being driven out of business and localities are losing their doctors. Well that’s a myth, folks. It’s just not happening. It’s just not that way.
A good way for a doctor to prevent medical malpractice claims is not to make any – don’t injure people and don’t kill people.
Everybody make mistakes but that’s what insurance is for.
Now finally I would say, that the idea lawyers cause insurance premiums to be as high as they are is also a myth. Lawyers actually, in my opinion, prevent medical malpractice by making doctors more careful because doctors know what’s going to happen if they injure somebody. Without that – without our tort system, without our jury trial system – the medical profession is left less-careful. That would be my argument anyway.
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