Understanding the Key Arguments For and Against Medical Malpractice Reform

Mass Tort Lawyer

Are you curious about medical malpractice reform? These laws are in existence to protect both patients and doctors if there are mistakes. As a result, doctors must carry malpractice insurance in case a patient files a lawsuit against them. However, insurance costs have risen dramatically over time, and the lawsuits have become drawn out in court. With unsatisfactory results for both patients and doctors, there have been proposals about changing the regulations. 

Reform Suggestions 

As a mass tort lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Daniel J. Stuart, P.A. can explain, currently, states determine specific regulations concerning medical tort law. Reforming these laws on a federal level makes the requirements for a medical malpractice suit the same for all states. The two main points of the reform are:

  1. Limit the amount of time patients can file a claim.
  2. Cap the amount of money that plaintiffs receive for pain and suffering.

Time Limits

The statute of limitations varies from 2 to 10 years in different states. Leaving this as stated is a benefit for the patient because, in some states, it allows them to file a case if injuries arise years after the incident.

However, time limits are not beneficial for doctors. Suits filed years or a decade after an incident may have occurred from subsequent accidents, leaving them to pay for something that isn’t their fault.  

Pain and Suffering Limits

In addition to limiting the time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit, there is also a recommendation of a cap on the amount of pain and suffering that a court can award. There are many reasons people support a cap, such as:

  • Limiting awards may decrease the number of cases filed against doctors. 
  • Fewer cases for insurance companies to deal with in court means that premiums become less expensive for doctors, saving their patients money in the long run.
  • Small medical practices can spend their money on improving patient care instead of costly malpractice insurance. 
  • Doctors may be more willing to try new lifesaving procedures and medications if they don’t have to worry about the possible risks involved. 

Just as there are people who support a cap, others don’t want any financial limits. One of the reasons that people don’t want to see a cap is that each patient and injury are unique, and their suffering may warrant a higher dollar amount. Others feel a low financial limit won’t incentivize doctors enough to avoid similar situations, putting more patients in danger. 

Reevaluating medical malpractice law has arguments both for and against it. If you want to file a case before laws are reformed, contact an attorney today.