Recent studies have shown that the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the United States has dropped significantly over the last twenty years while the average claim has risen. Higher claims have been cited by proponents of tort reform, but efforts to reform tort law may make it more difficult for those who have legitimate claims against their healthcare providers to find attorneys willing to take on their claims. When considering that the actual number of cases files has dropped so significantly, however, it is becoming clear that placing caps on damages and implementing other forms of tort reform may actually harm those who have legitimate claims far more than it will deter those with frivolous ones.
Drop in Claims Not Necessarily Linked to Better Medical Treatment
From 1992-2014, it has been revealed that the number of medical malpractice lawsuits being filed has dropped by over 52%. Meanwhile, the average judgement or settlement has increased during that period from $287,000 to over $353,000. At first glance, these statistics could be used to make the case that healthcare providers and doctors are making fewer errors and responsible for fewer injuries, but the reality is that tort reform across the nation has forced many attorneys to turn away cases that would not be worth their time or resources.