Our nation's healthcare system is in crisis. An increase in the number of lawsuits filed and a rise in jury awards against healthcare professionals and organizations in the past decade have sent malpractice insurance premiums and overall healthcare costs soaring.
Medical malpractice tort costs is the largest area of growth among U.S. tort costs, totaling $28.7 billion in 2004 and rising an average of 11.7 percent annually since 1975 (compared to a 9 percent increase for all other tort costs).
While frequently the outrageous cost impacts of medical malpractice lawsuits are the focus of attention, another cause for concern is the questionable nature of many of these claims. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that as many as 40 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits they reviewed were groundless, meaning the study found no evidence that a medical error was committed or that the patient suffered any injury.