There are several myths regarding medical malpractice suits, which misinform lawmakers and patients in the United States. These myths support the ideas that there are too many malpractice cases, and that those malpractice cases are the source of various problems in the country, including high premium costs and an alleged doctor shortage. These assertions are untrue:
- Myth 1 — There are too many medical malpractice lawsuits: A comprehensive report by the American Association for Justice shows that hundreds of thousands of patients are injured every year by the healthcare system, but very few of them sue. Indeed, medical malpractice suits have steadily declined in recent years.
- Myth 2 — Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs: This originates from a small study from the late 1980s and early 1990s, which was extrapolated to the entire health system. This study has been repeatedly debunked. Further, the total cost to defend against medical malpractice claims and pay settlements and verdicts comprises only 0.3 percent of healthcare spending.
- Myth 3 — Doctors are leaving the profession: Actually, the number of doctors has been steadily increasing, even outpacing population growth. Also, placing caps on damages from malpractice suits does not attract more physicians. In fact, the number of physicians per 100,000 people is higher in states without caps.
- Myth 4 — Malpractice claims raise premiums for doctors: Research has found that there is virtually no relationship between malpractice lawsuit payouts and malpractice premiums. Insurance companies profit in two ways, from investment income and the difference between premiums received and the amount of money used to pay claims. When the economy is in a slump and investment income is down, premiums are raised to maintain the same level of income for the insurance company.
- Myth 5 — Tort reform lowers health insurance rates: There is virtually no difference between the average premiums in states with caps on damages and those without. Proponents of tort reform often point to Texas as an example of success. However, Texas’ restrictive cap on damages has not reduced healthcare costs. In fact, the rate of Medicare costs in Texas far exceeds the national average.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced New Jersey attorney who can provide effective representation to seek the compensation you deserve.