Chicago IL Personal Injury Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tort Reform Does Not Work

The Los Angeles Times recently published an article discussing how "defensive medicine" caused by supposed fear of medical malpractice lawsuits constitutes a minor, insignificant portion of overall healthcare spending in the United States.  This term refers to physicians ordering medically unnecessary diagnostic testing (and the like) solely out of an alleged fear of being sued.      

This articles provides further evidence that "tort reform," which seeks to curb individuals' rights to collect their full measure of economic and non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases is a groundless movement.  Studies published around the country have irrefutably shown that: the overall number of physicians in the United States is increasing (refuting tort reformers' claims that people are choosing not to become doctors out of fear of lawsuits), physicians' medical malpractice insurance premiums routinely rise in states that adopt tort reform while medical liability insurers in said states routinely report record profits (refuting tort reformers' claims that the movement is aimed to curb increasing insurance premiums), and that the civil justice system is a more than adequate filter for so-called "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits.  

As an example of the latter point, Illinois law requires that a Plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit consult with a physician in the same specialty of the individual they want to sue and obtain an affidavit documenting that their case is meritorious prior to ever filing suit.  This process alone costs thousands of dollars.  For this reason, filing a so-called "frivolous" lawsuit is cost-inefficient, a waste of time, and simply bad business.   

The reality is that tort reform shuts the courthouse doors to severely injured people for one purpose: saving insurance companies money.



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