Tort Reform Limits Liability In Malpractice Cases

Since the 1980s, the United States healthcare and insurance industries have continued to shape the landscape of medical malpractice lawsuits through a system known as “tort reform.” In 2002, after passing the MCARE Act, Pennsylvania entered the ring of malpractice tort reform with a series of court rulings that framed a new set of rules for filing malpractice cases.

There are so many factors associated with determining a valid medical malpractice case. If you believe you or a loved one has not received a standard of care and suffered from malpractice or negligence, consult the experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Dan Doyle Law Group to guide you through this process.

How Does Tort Reform Work Against The Patient?

In what was sold as an attempt to reduce the number of frivolous malpractice lawsuits and lower malpractice insurance premiums, several state legislatures began to pass tort reforms. But after nearly two decades and 20 years of analyzed data, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is taking a closer look at malpractice tort reform and discovering that instead of decreasing lawsuits, the medical errors have continued to rise every year.

Not a single injury has been spared or life saved by tort reform. Instead, it seems to be clearly diminishing healthcare accountability while inflating the profits of insurance companies.

A Johns Hopkins University study from 2016, states that despite the implementation of tort reform laws in most states across the country, malpractice still resulted in an average of 251,000 deaths a year. That year, medical errors ranked as the third-leading cause of death in America behind heart disease and cancer.

The Patient Safety Authority reported an average of more than 200,000 patient safety events every year in Pennsylvania’s hospitals. Injury or death has occurred in more than 7,500 of these events, yet malpractice lawsuits are only filed in about 20% of these events annually.

Despite the medical errors, the profits of insurance companies have soared. Since tort reform was passed in 2003, malpractice insurance companies brought in $4.3 billion more in premiums than they have paid out in injured-patient claims.

Like the insurance providers, Philadelphia hospital systems are growing and spreading out, taking over small group and individual practices. Healthcare executives continue to make more money while claiming the increased cost of medical care is due to the injured victims of frivolous care.

Since 2002, jury verdicts in malpractice cases in Philadelphia have had a 2-1 ratio in favor of hospitals and doctors over plaintiffs.

Identifying Medical Malpractice

Establishing medical malpractice can be a difficult and overwhelming process. Mistakes can happen to anyone, and doctors and medical professionals are not exempt. There are also differences between medical malpractice and medical negligence.

Some common examples of medical malpractice include:

  1. Failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing a condition
  2. Failing to follow up properly after surgery and/or treatment
  3. Providing unnecessary treatments or failing to provide necessary treatments
  4. Prescribing/giving the wrong dosage of medication
  5. Ignoring or misreading laboratory results
  6. Performing unnecessary or the wrong surgery, or surgery on the wrong part of the body
  7. Discharging a patient prematurely

If you or a loved one were injured due to medical malpractice, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at the Dan Doyle Law Group for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 215-987-3730.