Lawmakers in Washington have proposed a number of ways to reduce what they perceive to be wasteful spending. Among proposals that some experts consider particularly troubling is placing caps on medical malpractice payouts and making it more difficult for patients to prove malpractice occurred in the first place.
The lawmakers who are proposing these new regulations are doing so on a questionable premise. They contend that the cost of health care throughout the country is massively inflated because the malpractice industry has made the cost of doing business untenable for health care professionals.
Researchers who observe medical malpractice insurance trends disagree, In fact, studies show that doctors are paying less for malpractice than they were in 2001, not even counting for inflation. Beyond the cost of insuring against malpractice, the rate of malpractice claims has fallen steadily since at least 2003.
The injured patient stands to lose the most
The unfortunate reality of these new proposals, according to independent experts in the field, is that patients stand to lose the most with the proposed rule changes.
If these new rules go into effect, there will be some savings for the medical provider industry, as well as the medical insurance industry - after all, it will be more difficult to sue a doctor for malpractice, and those who win a malpractice suit can expect a much smaller payout. Unfortunately, the people who have been harmed by a doctor's negligence, or the families of those who have been killed by medical malpractice, will have a much harder time recovering appropriate damages in a lawsuit.
Savings for doctors does not mean savings for you
However, there is no guarantee that those savings will mean less costly health care for the average consumer. Furthermore, those who legitimately suffer loss from malpractice may find that even a successful suit leaves them with little to take home.
Perhaps surprisingly, considering its generally liberal policies, California has very strict medical malpractice laws. Under California's malpractice regulations, a victim of malpractice cannot win more than $250,000 of noneconomic damages in a malpractice suit. As a result, people in California injured by medical malpractice are often unable to recover their full measure of damages in litigation.
Some of the individuals championing these changes claim that anywhere from 300 to about 800 billion dollars of the nation's medical spending goes towards medical malpractice. However, industry experts have a dramatically different view. According to researchers, only about 100 billion dollars, or about 3 percent of the nation's health care costs, goes to medical malpractice.
A strong case requires a strong team
Regardless of how the rules of malpractice may or may not change, you still deserve to have your rights protected. If you believe that you have suffered from malpractice, do not hesitate to seek the guidance of an experienced, professional attorney who can help you understand the nuances of your situation. With proper legal guidance, you can pursue justice confidently.