Medical Malpractice Awards At All Time Low Says Study

According to a study by the consumer protection group Public Citizen, medical malpractice awards are at an all time low in the United States. Public Citizen used data collected from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which started tracking payments made in medical malpractice cases in 1990. The 2010 report, released recently, found that malpractice payments made for physicians in 2010 was the lowest on record. This information should be imparted to all physicians who claim that personal injury lawyers are responsible for the increase in their malpractice premiums. Clearly, that is not the case, and the true culprits are the powerful insurance companies and their well paid/connected lobbyists, who consistently manage to thwart all reform efforts to remedy the insurance crisis in this country.

The study showed that the number of payments made for malpractice claims dropped from 16,566 in 2001, to 10,195 in 2010. Despite the dramatic decrease in medical malpractice awards, insurance companies are the real winners, continuing to increase premiums and reap significant profits. According to Public Citizen, malpractice payments amounted to a scant 0.13% of total health care costs. They found that total health care costs increased a massive 90% between 2000 and 2010, with medical malpractice claims dropping 11.9% during that same ten year time frame.

There has not been a corresponding decrease in medical mistakes while malpractice payments have decreased, the study finds. They cite three studies published in 2010 and 2011. Among these was from the Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services, who reviewed the cases of Medicare patients in U.S. hospitals. This study concluded that one in seven Medicare patients experienced a “serious adverse event”, which contributed to death in 1.5% of patients. Further, they determined that almost half of the adverse events—44%–were preventable.

The authors of the report concluded that the true medical malpractice crisis is not due to substantial medical malpractice awards, but rather the “epidemic of medical errors.” We hasten to add, and a huge insurance problem in which insurance companies make substantial profits but consistently deny legitimate claims while racking up the profits.

Contact the Westchester County Medical Malpractice Lawyers online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free initial consultation with an experienced trial attorney if you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice or are seriously injured in any type of accident.