Medical Malpractice Suits and the Ineffectiveness of Tort Reforms
The second-highest New York medical malpractice suit payout was recently awarded by a jury to a Long Island family, a staggering $130 million. An $8 million settlement was offered and rejected before the trial was initiated.
The trial, Reilly v. St. Charles Hospital, revolved around a birth gone wrong, where a child was born in 2002 with severe brain injury and cerebral palsy. The jury determined the cause of the injury to be malpractice on the part of the Long Island hospital. The obstetric nurse assigned to the birth missed signs of distress by the baby, an oversight that led to devastating consequences. The plantiff’s attorney argued that the medical errors were preventable, and the jury agreed.
The lawyers who represented St. Charles Hospital expressed discontentment with the trial’s outcome and pushed for more tort reform. Unlike 29 other states, New York does not limit the amount a claimant can be awarded for pain-and-suffering. The state also has a less restrictive statute of limitations for medical malpractice suits.
Tort Reforms are Not the Answer
According to advocates of tort reform, doctors are forced to prescribe unwarranted and expensive tests to patients due to anxiety over medical malpractice suits. They believe that lower medical malpractice awards and a shorter statute of limitations leads to reduced medical malpractice insurance premiums and, consequently, decreased health-care costs. However, research conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other credible groups has shown otherwise.
Researchers found no significant correlation between medical malpractice lawsuits and malpractice insurance rates. States with extensive tort reform measures still experienced increases in insurance premiums. Although the rate increases in those states were less than that of states with no tort reform, the difference was so slight as to be negligible. Rather, the solution to rising costs is improved procedures that ensure that medical professionals adhere to the standard of care so patients are not injured by malpractice.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for your Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe you have suffered an illness or injury due to medical malpractice, get in touch with the Atlanta medical negligence attorneys at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C. We have the experience and the knowledge to thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case and locate strong evidence that can support your claim. Call us now at (404) 995-3955 for a free and confidential case review.
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