The Price of Medical Malpractice

After six months, two lost jobs, one mortgage, and an entire stack of bills, you finally decided to file a legal claim against the hospital and the surgeon who performed the operation on your back. The incident, which partly severed your L5-S1, has not only caused partial paralysis but has also resulted in a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention financial turmoil.

Now considering how much you pay for health insurance and how much the surgeon gets paid annually, you’d expect your settlement to not only cover your costs, but also reflect a substantial monetary accountability for the surgeon’s mistake. However, through your own research, you’re beginning to think this won’t be the case.

Your left with many questions, but the uppermost seems to be: do medical malpractice cases accurately reflect damages, based on how much patients pay for their medical care?

Physician vs. Patient: Medical Malpractice Monetary Costs

Medical malpractice is a huge concern for patients and physicians alike. However, the difference in financial costs for patients, as opposed to physicians, is staggering. In addition to psychological damages, physical injuries, and overall suffering a patient must endure as a result of medical malpractice, he must also suffer the financial damages.

When that’s compared to how little the negligent physician must pay, the result is pretty demeaning.

  • The annual costs to society from medical malpractice and errors—including treatment, recovery, lawsuits, and damages—averages $17 billion to $29 billion, according to the Institute of Medicine. However, the annual amount spent by physicians for medical malpractice insurance is only $6 billion—approximately one-fifth of the actual costs needed to cover all damages— according to the National Institute of Insurance Commissioners.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, patient medical costs have risen 113 percent since 1990, yet the amount spent on medical malpractice insurance has risen only 52 percent. This means that although patients are paying more for medical care, physicians are paying, roughly, three percent of their annual incomes for malpractice insurance.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation of Health and Research as well as the National Practitioner Data Bank’s Annual Report state that although medical malpractice settlements have risen within the past 10 years, from an average payout of $200,000 to $275,000 (approximately 37 percent for each payout), during the same time, the average premium for health care coverage has also increased. However, instead of the 37 percent increase physicians must occasionally pay for settlements, patient coverage, which must be paid consistently, has risen by nearly 39 percent.

The discrepancy between how much patients pay for medical care and how much they may be compensated for a catastrophic medical error seems completely unfair, especially when you consider how little the negligent doctor must pay for his mistake. This is why it is extremely important to have an experienced lawyer fighting for you in order to get the maximum settlement you deserve. He can help you get justice and compensation for not only your injuries, but also your pain and suffering.

Contact us today to find out why we’re the right lawyers for you. The longer you wait to get representation, the longer your physician’s insurance company has to try and limit your settlement. Don’t let them get away with it; call now!

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