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The Truth About Medical Malpractice Litigation

Jan. 16, 2014

When I talk to people during jury selection, I discovered that they have deeply held beliefs that are simply untrue. Here are some:

  1. There is a litigation crisis in which people are too quick to sue.

  2. The number of lawsuits is skyrocketing and increases every year.

  3. Most people who sue are out to get something for nothing.

  4. Most other jurors are stupid and are easily swayed by slick lawyers.

Focused on Medical Malpractice litigation, an article written by the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School reported research which reached the following conclusions:

  • Preventable medical errors are widespread but few injured patients file lawsuits.

  • Medical malpractice lawsuits are rare and declining in number.

  • Medical malpractice cases are rarely resolved through trial.

  • The vast majority of true medical malpractice cases settle.

  • Juries are able to handle medical malpractice cases.

  • Juries are not anti-physician; in fact, the opposite is true.

  • Medical malpractice victims who prevail at trial have suffered severe injuries.

  • Medical malpractice verdicts are far smaller than commonly believed.

  • Medical malpractice awards and payments reflect the severity of the injury.

  • Medical malpractice verdict payments are far smaller than commonly believed.

  • Far from being “broken,” experts say that the current medical malpractice system works well.

  • Litigation improves patient safety.

  • Fear of litigation is not the main reason doctors fail to report errors.

  • The best way to reduce malpractice litigation is to reduce the amount of malpractice.

For more information and further reading on all of the conclusions reached by the Center for Justice & Democracy, please visit this site.