Medical malpractice lawsuits have long been targeted by insurance corporations and other interested parties as suits that purportedly increase insurance premiums for physicians and lead many to leave the profession.
These groups have a financial interest in pushing this narrative and lobbying for legislation aimed at attacking lawsuits rather than preventing medical errors. In many states, they have succeeded in passing laws that unfairly impact victims with valid claims, such as limiting or capping the amount of non-economic damages victims can recover if they win their lawsuits.
But according to a new report from the Center for Justice & Democracy (CJD) at New York Law School, these positions are unfounded. In fact, the report notes that medical malpractice lawsuits are decreasing and that doctors who do leave the profession do so for reasons other than liability or insurance.
To dispel the myths created by insurance companies and profit-motivated corporations, the Center for Justice & Democracy reviewed responses from physicians about the true impact of medical malpractice lawsuits. Here are some of their findings:
- Of the 47% of internists who have been sued, including situations where claims were quickly dropped, roughly two-thirds believed the outcome of the lawsuit was fair – similar to the 61% of all physicians who responded the same.
- As with all doctors in general, most internists in 2021 reported that they did not feel lawsuits negatively affected their overall medical careers.
- Over half of all physicians reported that nothing occurred after they were named in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Nearly 90% of all doctors stated that they were not concerned about being sued for medical malpractice over a COVID-related issue, and physicians in general reported fewer malpractice lawsuits in 2021 for any reason compared to 2019 (pre-COVID).
According to researchers from the American Medical Association (AMA), insurance rates increased for doctors over the past three years – a time when lawsuits decreased, courts were closed, and trials stopped – largely because “The medical liability insurance cycle is in a period of increasing premiums.” The AMA’s findings support what civil justice advocates and plaintiffs’ attorneys have known all along – that rising insurance rates and unfair rate hikes are the product of a profit-motivated insurance industry, and not make-believe issues surrounding civil lawsuits.
Our attorneys at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. have extensive experience representing clients across New Jersey in medical malpractice lawsuits. Because we know how severely medical errors can injure patients and upend the lives of families, we’ve long supported efforts for civil justice reform that focus on stripping away arbitrary and unfair laws targeting malpractice suits and reinstating laws that allow victims to use the legal system for what it was designed to be used for – seeking justice and a recovery of losses caused by negligence and wrongdoing. We’re glad to hear that doctors are stepping up to help dispel myths created by insurance companies that care more about profits than people.
If you have questions about a potential medical malpractice suit anywhere in the state, please call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.