The Myth of Courts Overburdened by Medical Malpractice Cases

Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys know that many people complain about medical malpractice lawsuits flooding our courts and resulting in unfair judgments for people simply looking for a quick payday. Sometimes for political reasons, government officials jump on this bandwagon. However, working with people who have had their lives ruined, or even ended, by the negligence of a medical professional, we know that there are many cases that deserve justice and compensation for the injuries suffered.

Now there is a new study proving just how non-existent this problem of “flooding” the courts with frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits is. The study was conducted by the American Medical Association and released by the Archives of Internal Medicine, focusing on cases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It found that not even five percent of cases alleging medical malpractice actually go to trial – a mere 4.5 percent – actually reach the verdict stage, and of those that reach this stage, 80 percent of those trial outcomes favor the doctors. Obviously, the complaint that the court system is overburdened by medical malpractice cases is simply a myth.

This AMA study examined the number of medical malpractice claims resolved between 2002 and 2005. About 10,000 such claims were filed, but only 55 percent of them ended in actual lawsuits. Of that 55 percent, more than half were dismissed in court, and the majority of remaining cases were resolved prior to trial, with a settlement for example.

Another report by a consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen, actually found that medical malpractice payments are at their lowest level – adjusted for inflation – since 1991, the first year the government started collecting data on this issue. This report included data from the federal government’s National Practitioner Data Bank, an organization which tracks malpractice payments and found that four-fifths of medical malpractice awards were for death, catastrophic harm, or serious permanent injuries. These types of injuries and death could not be less frivolous, and the patients suffering often desperately need compensation for medical bills and lost income. Public Citizen points out that there is no evidence that patients have received any benefits, economic or otherwise, from the efforts to restrict patients’ legal rights as a health care cost saving measure. The organization asserts that malpractice victims, taxpayers, and patients are more likely to bear the cost from uncompensated medical errors.
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Medical malpractice lawsuits are easy to blame for rising healthcare costs, but a closer look reveals that it is a myth and that legitimate medical malpractice lawsuits are absolutely necessary to maintaining the focus on patient safety and patients’ rights. If you or someone in your family has been hurt by a negligent health care professional, the Georgia medical malpractice lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter can help you determine if you have a case and how to move forward along possible legal avenues. Despite the unjustified complaints, your lawsuit may be necessary and just and you could be entitled to monetary damages to help with resulting medical bills and expenses. Please call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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