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, Iowa, 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.

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All Results for Medical Liability

  1. In the News Today - March 14, 2014

    March 14, 2014 | News and Blog

    On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the state's $1 million cap on medical malpractice awards, ruling it violated Florida's equal protection law.... Read More

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Legal Reformers Must Act to Heal the Lawsuit System

    October 23, 2013 | News and Blog

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

  6. The New Lawsuit Ecosystem: Trends, Targets and Players

    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

  7. 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

  8. An Rx for Mega Lawsuits?

    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

  9. 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

  10. 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