Proponents of tort reform often claim that it is medical malpractice payments that are responsible for the quickly rising cost of healthcare. However, the facts do not seem to support that argument.
Earlier this month, then no-profit group Public Citizen released the results of a new medical malpractice study.
According to the study:
- Both the number of medical malpractice claims and the total amount paid out on medical malpractice claims decreased in 2011.
- Last year was the eighth straight year of a decline.
- Last year there were 9,758 medical malpractice payments. That is the lowest number since 1991.
- When adjusted for inflation, the total amount paid out was also the lowest amount on record.
- 80% of the $3.2 billion paid last year was for medical malpractice that resulted in death or a condition requiring life-long care.
- The average medical malpractice payment in 2011 was $327,561.
While those who seek to limit medical malpractice awards, even for serious injuries, will continue to fight against the just recovery of injured patients, the data seems to indicate that the system is not being abused and is not responsible for high healthcare costs. If you have been injured, or if you have lost a loved one, due to medical malpractice you have the right to seek justice through the legal system.