Thousands of doctors and insurance companies across the country, including those in Mississippi, have been sitting on the frontlines of Congress and their state legislatures pushing for more tort reform, including lower caps on damages. They have been very successful thus far. Mississippi was one of several states that passed tort reform legislation that has reduced the amount of non-economic damages that an injured patient can recover on a medical malpractice claim.
The purpose of this reform, according to its supporters, is to reduce the skyrocketing price of healthcare, partly caused by doctors having to defend medical malpractice claims. Recently, however, many non-partisan groups have conducted research which has revealed that medical malpractice costs are not contributing to the high price of healthcare in this country.
The Congressional Budget Office conducted a study that indicated that medical malpractice costs only account for about 2% of all health care costs. Given the miniscule contribution of medical malpractice costs to the overall costs of health care, reducing the number of malpractice lawsuits will not likely have a significant impact on cutting health care expenses. The lawyers/legislature have done their job in reducing the amount of money that an injured person can sue a doctor for, but the insurance companies have not reduced their insurance premiums to the doctors!
Doctors have also claimed that the fear of being sued often causes them to engage in what many have called “defensive medicine,” which is the practice of ordering additional and often unnecessary tests so as not to be construed as negligent for failing to order the test. In that same study by the Congressional Budget Office, the office found that doctors were more inclined to practice defensive medicine because of the benefit to the patient than because of fear of being sued.
What does this mean for Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers and potential clients? It means that there may be an avenue to challenge the new tort reform legislation that has capped medical malpractice damages. It could give medical malpractice victims more of the recovery that they deserve when doctors are negligent. Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys should be investigating whether medical malpractice claims in the state are indeed responsible for the rising costs of medical care and, if not, then the new tort reform bill should be challenged.
If you would like to speak with a Mississippi medical malpractice attorney about a potential medical malpractice claim in Jackson, Hinds County or anywhere in the State of MS, call Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley today at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Doctors Admit that Malpractice Crisis is Untrue and a ‘Smokescreen‘,” by Michael A. Stratton, published at http://Connecticut.InjuryBoard.com.
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