Medical Malpractice Reform Efforts
In recent years, doctors, insurance companies, and patients have criticized the way medical malpractice is currently practiced. They have argued that the way medical malpractice is done is expensive, unpredictable, and inefficient. Some critics complain that medical malpractice lawsuits have caused insurance rates for doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers to skyrocket, which in turn drives up healthcare costs passed down to patients and drives some doctors out of business altogether (or prevents them from practicing certain procedures that are particularly prone to medical malpractice claims).
What Arguments Are There in Favor of the Status Quo?
Those in favor of preserving the status quo point out that the increase in medical malpractice lawsuits is tied to a genuine increase in errors by doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. They point out that liability insurance premiums are actually lower than they were in the previous decade except for some few types of doctors in certain specialty areas. Additionally, they argue that there are many reasons for skyrocketing healthcare costs and that blaming it all on medical malpractice litigation is avoiding some of the true reasons for the healthcare crisis.
What Are Some Proposals for Reforming Medical Malpractice Laws?
There are several proposals for reforming medical malpractice laws on the table in various states. Some of the major proposals are as follows:
- Capping damages. Many states have already done this. Some states limit the total amount of damages a plaintiff can recover overall, while others just cap certain kinds of damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress without capping other types of damages like medical bills or lost income. Many states also limit how much money and what kinds of compensation an attorney can receive for medical malpractice cases.
- Establishing special medical malpractice courts where a medically-trained judge hears and decides cases. Critics of this proposal point out that it would remove litigants’ right to a jury trial.
- Shortening the statute of limitations in which a patient must bring a lawsuit. A statute of limitations is a deadline by which you must bring your claim in order to be permitted to move forward. The statute of limitations in South Carolina is 3 years.
How Will Reform Affect My Case?
The best way to know how and if reform efforts will affect your claim is to consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. Reform efforts may affect how much your case is worth and how much compensation you may be entitled to. Reform efforts may also affect how long you have to bring your claim in your state (though, as mentioned above, the statute of limitations in South Carolina is 3 years).
You Need a Good Attorney
Many attorneys are available for medical malpractice cases. But you want an attorney with experience at your side who can protect your rights and interests. Medical malpractice cases are extremely fact-specific and can be very complex. Don’t hesitate to contact a Columbia personal injury attorney at the Stanley Law Group. Call 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation today.