Fewer Medical Malpractice Claims, Higher Malpractice Premiums
There is no growth in the number of new medical malpractice claims. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the number of new medical malpractice claims declined by about four percent between 1995 and 2000. There were 90,212 claims filed in 1995; 84,741 in 1996; 85,613 in 1997; 86,211 in 1998; 89,311 in 1999; and 86,480 in 2000. While medical costs have increased by 113 percent since 1987, the amount spent on medical malpractice insurance has increased by just 52 percent over that time. Additionally, for most doctors not in high-risk specialties, malpractice insurance costs amount to only 3.2 percent of the average physician’s revenues.
Rather than raise rates because of increased litigation or jury awards (legitimate or otherwise), insurance companies are raising rates because of poor returns on their investments, according to J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. Recent lower premiums were artificially low.
It is worth noting that few medical errors ever result in legal claims. In fact, only one malpractice claim is made for every 7.6 hospital injuries, according to a Harvard study. Further, plaintiffs drop 10 times more claims than they pursue, according to Physician Insurer Association of America data. Insurance companies want you to believe frivolous cases and greedy plaintiffs’ lawyers are to blame—the facts don’t support their arguments.
If you, a loved one, or a friend have been harmed by medical negligence and believe you may have a medical malpractice case, call today for a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice lawyers. We’re here to help.