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Malpractice suits in America vs countries with socialized medicine?

Been the victim of Legal Malpractice? Discuss it here.

Malpractice suits in America vs countries with socialized medicine?

Postby wal49 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:56 pm

Google says...10%of all medical costs in America are due to malpractice law suits. Do other countries have this problem. How about countries like Canada, Germany, Australia and UK? Should the US change it's Medical malpractice legal system? How?
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Malpractice suits in America vs countries with socialized medicine?

Postby bedyw25 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:02 pm

No. Fact is, you cannot sue a doctor unless you can prove that that doctor deviated from the standard of care, standard of care meaning that which another reasonable, prudent doctor would do in same or similar circumstances. Then you must prove that you have a permanent injury, and that you have suffered economic losses; current medical bills, future medical bills, and lost wages. You cannot sue a doctor for doing all he can and getting a bad outcome, and you cannot sue a doctor for making a mistake that you recovered from. There are no "I'm p*ssed lawsuits." Judges cannot award "principle of the thing," they can only award what you have actually lost.

What most people don't realize -- until they've been through a lawsuit themselves -- is that an economist is hired to come in and count what you have actually lost. The economist looks at your career, your schooling, your injury, your past socio-economic standing, and determines precisely what you would have earned had you been able to keep working. They count precisely how much it will cost to take care of you, right down to the cost of orthopedic socks that go with your prosthetic limb, and how many times over the years you're going to have to buy them. They don't give you "it sucks that you were injured" money, and they don't give you a cost of living increase. They only give you what you have actually lost. And in the case of prosthetic limbs -- I read a case just like this -- they can't forecast what they will cost 20 years from now, so they have to go by what they cost today.

In many states, if your loved one dies due to a medical mistake, (CA, TX, LA, etc.,) that dead relative does NOT have economic losses; thus, you cannot sue. Your dead loved one is called "non-economic damages." In CA, for instance, non-economic damages is capped at $250k, and it costs about that much to go to trial. You cannot find a lawyer who will take that case because you as the plaintiff will not win anything, neither will the attorney get paid. All you will get is legal costs, and so you have no suit. This happened to a good friend of mine whose baby was born stillborn when the doctor failed to perform a timely C-section.

One particular insurance company made nearly $100 billion in profits last year. This is profits -- AFTER all overhead is paid out, including lawsuits. Compare this with the average lawsuit payout, about $1.2 million (from my extensive research). Hardly a circumstance of an insurance company not being able to pay for the damage they have done. Yes, a doctor's insurance rate will rise if he has been sued AND is found liable, but that raise in insurance rates, at last check, was only $800/year, which is about what your insurance will rise if you have an accident and you are found liable.

When you cannot sue your doctor for a medical mistake, or you are subjected to caps that will not nearly pay for your future medcal bills, what happens is you get enrolled into Medicaid. That is paid for by the taxpayer.

I would change the med/mal laws in the country by repealing all tort reform laws because they are un-Constitutional. Amendment 7 of the Bill of Rights mandates that juries are to make the awards, not legislators. Legislators can be bought, and they are bought. Lobbyists pay huge sums of money to re-election campaigs in order to get tort reform passed.

Further, tort reform does nothing to curb costs of medical care. In fact, in 2005, the largest hospital system in America commissioned a study to prove that tort reform keeps medical costs low. What they found instead is that medical costs rise higher, faster in states with tort reform versus states without it. Look at TX. Their medical costs are exploding, tort reform having been passed a few years ago. CA instituted tort reform 30 years ago, and yet, last year Blue Cross raised its rates by 39% and this year and additional 40%.

All tort reform has done is keep people who have been injured from suing, has made insurance companies richer, doctors more likely to make a mistake because they will not be held accountable, and has increased taxes for all of us, because we get to pay the medical costs of injured parties because insurance companies no longer have to.
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Malpractice suits in America vs countries with socialized medicine?

Postby geol19 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:07 pm

There is no malpractice in countries such as Australia and the UK because all health care in those countries is run by the government, individual doctors are basically employees, and their laws about legal proceedings are different than ours.

Should the US change the medical malpractice legal system? Absolutely. It's flawed. But it would be very difficult to achieve. A patient should have some recourse when a doctor is negligent or leaves a metal clamp inside a patient during surgery. But malpractice lawsuits are out of hand, juries can award whatever damages they want, often more money than the doctor has malpractice insurance for, and malpractice insurance premiums are very high and cost a significant part of a doctor's earnings, because malpractice lawsuits can cost them millions.

I can't give you an answer of how it should be changed, because it's very complicated and probably would require changes in the legal system and laws themselves, and our laws are to a great extent based on the Constitution and constitutional amendments. Changes to the amendments take years and both the House representatives and the Senators working together for the same thing, which they rarely do.
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