Frivolous Lawsuits Drive Up Your Health Insurance And Drive Doctors Out Of State

I blogged about this back on May:

The U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2006 Report, to be released today by the California-based Pacific Research Institute, divides states into three groups of saints, sinners and salvageable. The report characterizes Alabama as among the “sinners” states that are predicted to fall in its ranking or stay at the bottom because of relatively high civil lawsuit verdicts and a failure to enact few or any comprehensive reforms.

The Alabama Jury Verdict Reporter just released its 2006 edition. Of note:

Medical negligence. There were 32 verdicts rendered in medical negligence cases. Again, this number was down from the 54 tried in 2002 and the 52 cases in which a verdict was rendered in 2003, but was up from the 15 cases in this category in 2005. Of these 32 cases, the plaintiff prevailed in four cases while verdicts were rendered for the defendant in 28. The plaintiffs therefore won only 12.5 percent of the medical negligence cases tried in 2006. The average plaintiff’s verdict in these cases was $2,718,750, and the average verdict considering all of the trials was $339,844.

According to the report, almost half of the jury verdicts last year were in plain ‘ol car wreck cases. Of those, the results were about fifty-fifty, with the average plaintiff’s verdict being  95,000. The only areas outside medmal where the average plaintiff recovery exceeded six figures were eight slip and fall cases at an average of 142,000; seven employment retaliation cases at 480,000; and seven civil rights cases at 210,000.

Those six figure plus awards might sound outrageous, but 1) there are not many of them, 26 in total, and 2) those are areas where the injuries are likely to be big, i.e. wrongly amputated limbs, years of lost earnings, broken bones and long term disabilities. So, if those numbers mean we are sinners, what would it take to be a saint?

 

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3 Comments on “Frivolous Lawsuits Drive Up Your Health Insurance And Drive Doctors Out Of State”

  1. Willie Says:

    I think you have to do some research on Pacific Research Institute.

    I might add that in many countries national health care systems take care of auto accident victims, eliminating the need for lawsuits in search of money for medical needs. Considering we spend almost double in GDP for health care compared most of the G20 countries, this information is even more troubling.

  2. Mark Says:

    PRI has some dubious connections. Among their contributors are big oil and big pharma.

    Complainers about such suits, especially medical malpractice suits, are trying to sovle a problem by eliminating a symptom.

  3. Old Prosecutor Says:

    Same old story – “the lawsuit crisis” is made up out of whole cloth so insurance companies can get richer. Ask any doctor friends if their malpractice insurance rates have decreased in light of the numbers you cite


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