Originally Posted by mmcnulty
Relevant study that is pretty highly-regarded:
"The reviewers found that almost all of the claims involved a treatment-related injury. More than 90% involved a physical injury, which was generally severe (80% resulted in significant or major disability and 26% resulted in death). The reviewers judged that 63% of the injuries were due to error. The remaining 37% lacked evidence of error, although some were close calls. "
"Most claims (72%) that did not involve error did not receive compensation. When they did, the payments were lower, on average, than payments for claims that did involve error ($313,205 vs. $521,560). Among claims that involved error, 73% received compensation."
From wikipedia on tort reform:
"In 2011, data pooled from the industry by the publication Medical Liability Monitor indicated that medical malpractice insurance rates had declined for four straight years. The decrease was seen in both states that had enacted tort reform and in states that had not, leading actuaries familiar with the data to suggest that patient safety and risk management campaigns had had a more significant effect."
I contend - and this seems backed up by evidence - that the obamacare approach of trying to reduce medical errors is actually a more effective way to reduce the cost of malpractice lawsuits than cutting off the penalties of *successful* lawsuits.
California, among other states, makes the losing party pay the winning party's legal costs. This seems like a good way to reduce frivolous lawsuits. Reduce the costs to defend against them.
Agree that focuses on medical safety decrease malpractice settlements. But tort reform is also critical - the reason rates haven't risen is due in a large part to states which have enacted tort reform - the insurers are national, and the losses have dropped - allowing them to reduce premiums.
Also - I'm not familiar with the California law you cited, where the loser pays the winners attorney fees and court costs. I would be very surprised at this - it's called "English Rule" (because its how English law operates, and many other countries), and the Trial Attorney Lobby has kept it out of the American legal system, by and large.