Medical Liability

At a time of mounting concerns about health care costs, America’s broken medical liability system stands as a major culprit - raising costs and hampering quality of care for millions. While many states have adopted successful reforms, sky-high medical liability costs remain a significant problem nationally. read more...

The costs of medical liability are exacerbated by the filing of meritless lawsuits. Further, healthcare costs continue to rise because of the practice of “defensive medicine.” In response to increasing medical liability risks, doctors are ordering unnecessary tests and procedures as a way to protect themselves from liability.

And it is not just the cost of healthcare that is affected by medical liability costs - healthcare quality is also impacted. The availability of some higher-risk medical specialties, such as OB-Gyn physicians, is becoming scarce as a result of high insurance premiums resulting from lawsuits.

Congress has been working to pass meaningful medical liability reform in recent years. In addition, many states have successfully lowered their medical costs and increased the availability of care by passing medical liability reforms.

California was a pioneer when in 1975 it passed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which placed a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and limits on attorney contingency fees. Since its passage, claims in California are settled in one-third less time than in states without caps on non-economic damages. The trial bar unsuccessfully attempted to pass a ballot initiative to remove the caps in 2014.

Many states have passed reforms modeled after MICRA with excellent results. For example, when Texas was facing an extreme shortage of physicians, medical facilities, and soaring medical liability costs, it enacted sweeping medical liability reforms that placed a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages against doctors and healthcare providers and an overall cap of $500,000 against healthcare facilities. Since Texas passed their reforms, lawsuits against hospitals have decreased by more than two-thirds, and the state added more than 80 practicing obstetricians in one year.

Over 30 states currently have some type of law placing limits on damages in medical malpractice cases:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Research

Bad for Your Health: Lawsuit Advertising Implications and Solutions

October 24, 2017 | This paper documents the proliferation of alarmist, misleading ads soliciting the public to file lawsuits against prescription drug and medical device companies. The report explores how these ads exaggerate product risks, minimize benefits

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice - FIFTH EDITION 2017

September 12, 2017 | A user's guide to state legal reforms, providing policymakers with a compendium of options available to foster a sound legal system and promote state economies. This resource also offers a compilation of recently-enacted legal reforms to show how legislators can move the proposals described in the guide from theory into practice.

All Results for Medical Liability

Bad for Your Health: Lawsuit Advertising Implications and Solutions

October 24, 2017 | Research

This paper documents the proliferation of alarmist, misleading ads soliciting the public to file lawsuits against prescription drug and medical device companies. The report explores how these ads exaggerate product risks, minimize benefits Read More »

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice - FIFTH EDITION 2017

September 12, 2017 | Research

A user's guide to state legal reforms, providing policymakers with a compendium of options available to foster a sound legal system and promote state economies. This resource also offers a compilation of recently-enacted legal reforms to show how legislators can move the proposals described in the guide from theory into practice. Read More »

U.S. House Passes Medical Liability Reform Bill

June 28, 2017 | News and Blog

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1215) by a vote of 218-210. This marks a substantial step toward fixing America's broken medical liability system. Read More »

In the News Today - June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 | News and Blog

Missouri 'Marches Toward Daubert': On August 28, a newly-enacted Missouri law will go into effect which will allow the state to "join the federal courts and 39 other states in applying the Daubert standard for the admissibility of expert testimony." Read More »

In the News Today - May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 | News and Blog

House Bill 1774, a piece of legislation aimed at ending abusive and frivolous hailstorm litigation, is now on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. The Institute for Legal Reform issued a statement "applauding the Texas legislature for prioritizing legal reform" and urged Gov. Abbott to sign the legislation swiftly. Read More »

In the News Today - April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016 | News and Blog

ILR-Funded Ethics & Compliance Report Highlighted: CGMA Magazine, a journal for certified public accountants, writes on the ILR-funded report from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative offering "five principles of high-quality ethics and compliance programs." Read More »

In the News Today - April 6, 2016

April 06, 2016 | News and Blog

A federal appeals court drastically slashed a $25.5 million punitive damage award for a woman who claimed a faulty furnace led to her carbon monoxide poisoning. Read More »

The Trial Lawyer Underground: Covertly Lobbying the Executive Branch

Author: Victor E. Schwartz and Cary Silverman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. | September 30, 2015 | Research

This report highlights examples of the quiet and effective influence the American Association for Justice, the organization that lobbies on behalf of the plaintiffs' bar, exerts within the Executive Branch. Read More »

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice

Author: Victor E. Schwartz and Cary Silverman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. | September 10, 2015 | Research

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system. It considers fair and effective measures to improve the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, and rein in excessive awards. Read More »

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