Malpractice lawsuit caps: Are malpractice lawsuits a good idea?

  • Yes, They Give Power

    Malpractice lawsuits are a good idea, because they are the only position of power the medical patient has. When a person receives medical care, whether through prescription intervention or surgical intervention, they effectively give up the power they have over their own safety. If a medical provider should make a mistake, that may or may not have a life-changing impact on the patient, the only power that person has to help recover dignity or cover further medical cost is a lawsuit.

  • Caps hurt injured patients and shift costs to the public

    Caps are designed to make it difficult for people to find attorneys willing to bring malpractice cases. They are unfair to malpractice victims who are children or who are retired since they have little economic value and cannot recover lost income. The result is that the costs of malpractice are simply shifted to the victims, their health insurers, and the taxpayers through Medicaid and Medicare.

    The real malpractice problem is malpractice itself, not malpractice suits. Estimates of the number of people killed each year in the US by malpractice range from 100,000 to 400,000. Yet there are only around 10,000 malpractice payments each year for all cases, not just those involving death. The vast majority of malpractice victims aren't compensated at all, not even for the additional medical costs resulting from the malpractice. To solve the malpractice problem, we need to reduce malpractice, not make it even more difficult for victims to recover their costs. We need to treat the disease -- malpractice -- not the symptoms -- malpractice payments.

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