The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has published a comprehensive review of medical malpractice myths perpetuated in the United States. Unfortunately, these myths misinform lawmakers and deter victims from bringing legitimate lawsuits after suffering harm. These five myths contribute to the notion that medical malpractice suits are out of control, when in fact they have steadily declined in recent years:
- Malpractice lawsuits drive up healthcare costs: This myth started as a result of a small study in the late 1980s and early 1990s that has been repeatedly debunked. It would shock many Americans to learn that only 0.3 percent of healthcare spending goes to defending against malpractice lawsuits and paying settlements or verdicts.
- There are too many medical malpractice lawsuits: According to a well-study, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. The AAJ report demonstrates that although hundreds of thousands of patients are injured each year, only a very small percentage of them sue. Thus, the real scope of malpractice in the country is likely underestimated.
- Tort reform lowers health insurance rates: Proponents of tort reform often tout the benefits of caps on damages, but research shows that there is virtually no difference in premiums between states with and without caps.
- Malpractice lawsuits cause skyrocketing premiums: Because insurance companies profit in two ways — through investment income and the difference between premiums and claim payouts — there is virtually no relationship between malpractice lawsuit payouts and malpractice insurance premiums. When the economy is not doing well, investment income declines. Insurance companies respond by increasing premiums to maintain profits.
- Malpractice claims are scaring doctors away from the profession: Again, this has been proven false. Tort reform advocates claim that caps on damages attract more physicians. However, the number of physicians per 100,000 people is higher in states without caps.
Do not let the myths about medical malpractice deter you from asserting your rights. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, seek assistance from experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorneys who can fight for the compensation you deserve.