Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm has had to fight back complaints from those involved in the “tort reform” movement who are under the mistaken assumption that helping victims of medical errors somehow worsens medical care throughout the area. This may seem wildly off-base to most. However, there remains a strong undercurrent of interest groups that are working to perpetuate this myth for their own gain. This skewed logic posits that increased medical malpractice lawsuits cause insurance for doctors to increase which ultimately results in those medical providers having to increase their prices for medical care.
Almost everything about that string of logic does not hold up to facts. For one thing, experts across the board have found repeatedly that healthcare rates would only be affected by a fraction of one percent if any changes are made to the tort system. It is a red herring. On top of that, medical malpractice insurance premiums are influenced mostly by insurance company decisions and not civil justice decisions. For example, a new survey published in the Insurance Journal explained that premium rates for medical liability insurance decreases this year for the sixth year in a row. In other words, anyone who claims that insurance premiums continue have been incorrect according to insurance companies own data for the past six years. In other words, the average rates doctors have had to pay for insurance have been decreasing at the very time that many are complaining about the “epidemic” of increasing rates. This takes virtually all of the steam of the argument that taking away rights of medical error victims is necessary to combat the increase.
On top of that, the insurance companies own figures also indicate that their profits have been going up consistently for that same period of time. The medical professional liability insurance industry reports that last year, 2010, was actually one of the best financial years for owners and stockholders. In fact, this particular form of insurance was outperforming (financially speaking) those of other property or casualty insurance industries. Therefore, despite claims repeatedly made to the contrary by those involved in the industry, medical liability company profits are actually thriving. It is all the more surprising that it is thriving even amid the rough U.S. economic picture that has forced so many other industries to cut back and tighten their belts. It calls into questions all of the claims made over the years about the devastating effects of medical malpractice lawsuits on the industry.
As usual, each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer is able to combat the wrongful claims about the consequences of our work by sharing a dose of reality about the insurance industry. The truth is that virtually all of the claims about the need for tort-reform are simply sophisticated attempts by those involved interests to shield themselves from liability for the harm that they cause. By convincing the public that having to pay for their harm causes a national problem, the insurance interests have been able to convince a large number of people to support plans to legislative protect themselves for paying for legal consequences just like every other business in the country.
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