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The Therapy Sessions
Friday, August 08, 2003

Land Of The Litigants

I'll let this speak for itself:

The typical award in medical malpractice cases is now about $1m according to Jury Verdict Research, a research firm, compared with $362,500 in 1994. Around a third of this money goes straight into the pockets of the lawyers, who, doctors claim, have manufactured a mini-industry of sympathetic “experts” to sway juries.

On the face of it, the doctors have strong ground for grievance. Back in 1990, researchers at Harvard University, having combed through 30,000 records of patients at 53 New York hospitals and 67,000 court records, concluded that 83% of the malpractice claims did not involve negligence by doctors. A more recent study, this time of cases in Colorado and Utah in 2000, also found doctors innocent in 78% of the claims. Many of these nuisance lawsuits are dropped or defeated but the average cost for the doctor is $17,000.

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