You’ve heard it before–medical malpractice lawsuits are completely
out of control, leading to exorbitant rates for medical malpractice insurance
and bringing the medical industry to the brink of disaster. Well, turns
out that may not be true. The
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), an independent organization geared toward policy reform, just
completed a study of the state’s medical malpractice data (15 years’
worth!) and determined that not only have malpractice claim awards declined
in recent years, but that the number of lawsuits has remained steady.
Those in favor of tort reform may bristle at NYPIRG’s findings, which
contradict arguments in favor of reform. The reasons for rising malpractice
insurance premiums are unknown at this point. And while medical malpractice
claim amounts have increased over the years, these increases can largely
be attributed to inflation. In addition, in recent years malpractice payments
have actually declined, from $822.7 million in 2006 to $753.2 million
in 2007 then to $743.5 million in 2008.
For more information, see