One of the challenges of the debate around the so-called “reforms” of the medical malpractice system is the consistency in which misinformation permeates. Misunderstandings about the situation are repeated in newspapers, public conversations, government hearings, and elsewhere. Fortunately there is a growing chorus of advocates who are standing up to repel the falsehoods.
For example, the President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association wrote another letter to the editor that was published in the Daily Herald last week. In it the advocate seeks to set the record straight on one particularly common assertion about the effect of Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits on doctors. The paper had repeated information about a “study” conducted out of a medical school that suggested doctors were fleeing the state because of the cost of lawsuits.
In truth, the study was nothing more than a survey taken of certain doctors. And even then, the survey itself actually revealed that there is an oversaturation of doctors in the Chicago-area. This means that there are more doctors here than would otherwise be needed based on the population. The doctors who leave the area typically do so to find work in places where there is less saturation. Besides that, most other new doctors who leave do so because they never planned on practicing in Illinois from the start. Medical malpractice lawsuits have nothing to do with it.
To quell this mythical fleeing of doctors, some are calling for caps on damage awards made by juries. Of course, as has been shown in dozens of states, these caps will do nothing to lower insurance premiums or otherwise incentivize doctors. Instead, the caps merely take away the legal rights of certain victims at the hands of big insurance interests. The rich stay richer and the victimized go without.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti stand by our commitment to ensuring that patient rights are protected. Medical mistakes often permanently injure and destroy the lives of innocent patients-those victims deserve the same legal protections afforded to all those who suffer because of negligent conduct. Our attorneys believe in the basic fairness of allowing our legal system to work as it should, with judges and juries hearing these disputes and deciding the appropriate course of action. A legislative decision that handcuffs the legal system’s ability to handle these cases does nothing but take away rights of suffering victims.
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