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.


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

U.S. Chamber: FL Supreme Court Medical Malpractice Ruling Will Make State's Lawsuit Climate Even Worse

March 13, 2014 | Press Release

Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) issued the following statement today on the Florida State Supreme Court's decision in the case of Estate of Michelle Evette McCall v. United States of America concerning the constitutionality of Florida's medical malpractice law. Read More »

In the News Today - November 4, 2013

November 04, 2013 | News and Blog

As the SEC's whistleblower reward program gains momentum, look for more follow-on securities litigation Kevin LaCroix writes in the D&O Diary. Read More »

Wisconsin Civil Justice Council and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Receive ILR's Outstanding Organization Award

October 23, 2013 | Press Release

The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council (WCJC) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) received the Outstanding Organization Award at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's (ILR) 14th Annual Legal Reform Summit. Read More »

Legal Reformers Must Act to Heal the Lawsuit System

Author: Lisa A. Rickard, President, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform | October 23, 2013 | News and Blog

By being proactive and persistent, we can achieve a healthy lawsuit system. Read More »

The New Lawsuit Ecosystem: Trends, Targets and Players

Author: Victor E. Schwartz and Cary Silverman Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. | October 23, 2013 | Research

Authored by a distinguished group of practitioners, this report examines the developing lawsuit "ecosystem" and areas of litigation of most concern to the business community. Read More »

In the News

September 25, 2013 | News and Blog

A week after six lawyers left a Plaintiffs Steering Committee, a lawyer has voluntarily dropped a bellweather transvaginal mesh case against CR Bard Inc. Read More »

An Rx for Mega Lawsuits?

Author: Lisa A. Rickard | September 20, 2013 | News and Blog

Generic consumer products first appeared on store shelves in the late 1970s as a cost-conscious alternative to brand name grocery products. Today, one can buy practically anything in generic form - from tires to whiskey. Read More »

Journal Blasts

September 09, 2013 | News and Blog

The Alabama Supreme Court is revisiting its "innovator liability" decision that holds companies liable for products they didn't manufacture. Read More »

Alabama Court Revisits 'Innovator Liability'

September 03, 2013 | News and Blog

The Alabama Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal that could have huge implications for drug makers. Read More »

David W. Ogden on

Author: David W. Ogden and Elisebeth Colllins Cook of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP | October 26, 2012 | Video

At the 13th Annual Legal Reform Summit on October 24, 2012, we pulled aside David W. Ogden, Partner, Co-Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, to discuss a new paper entitled, "The Exclusion Illusion: Fixing a Flawed Health Care Fraud Enforcement System." Watch »

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