In a prior post, we highlighted a trend in Philadelphia and its suburban counties of fewer medical malpractice claims being brought to trial and even fewer verdicts in favor of injured plaintiffs. The trend in Pennsylvania is an example of an overall trend in New York and across the nation. A recent Philly.com report examined this phenomenon, which led to the question: Are innocent medical malpractice victims being left uncompensated?
Currently, medical malpractice claims and payments have dropped in 31 states, including New York. This is arguably a result of improvements in medical care, particularly communication between staff members, but it is also attributable to tort reform efforts raised by state legislators and physicians' rights organizations. The various new laws have resulted in damage caps that may prevent an injured person from realizing the full amount that they are entitled to.
Because of this, medical malpractice law firms must scrutinize cases much closer and decline those that are too much of a risk that they will not make money for the firm; even if the case in fact has merit. The results are startling.
Over the last 20 years, the number of medical malpractice claims has dropped by more than half (57 percent.) In fact, states that do not have economic damages limits have also seen drops in claims. Additionally, payment of medical malpractice claims make up only .1 percent of all health care costs. Nevertheless, this should not discourage aggrieved plaintiffs from contacting an attorney for a consultation so that they can learn more about their rights and options.