Why should injured patients or the family of a deceased patient should sue a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice?
Why should injured patients or the family of a deceased patient should sue a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice? If someone asks you why you did it, tell them it is about justice and accountability. The American system of justice was built upon personal responsibly. Everyone must be held accountable for harms caused by their carelessness. If the neighbor’s son threw a baseball through your window and shattered it, would you want him to pay for the damage? If a police officer rear-ended your car, would you want him to pay for the damage? If an Orkin inspector failed to do his job and your house were eaten up by termites, would you want Orkin to pay for the damage? Doctors and hospitals are no different. They also provide a service which must be done in accordance with the standard practice. If they violate those standards and injure you, would you want them to pay for the damage? It is not the government’s responsibility to pay for someone else’s carelessness. That would be socialism.
Doctors and hospitals are professionals who are not above the law. If a patient has been injured due to the reckless or careless treatment by a health care provider, then they may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain, impairment, disfigurement, and distress. Suing for medical malpractice can help ensure that the injured patient or family of deceased patient is compensated for their injuries, and it can also help to hold the doctor or hospital accountable for their mistakes. In addition, it can help to prevent future medical malpractice and ensure that healthcare providers are held to a higher standard of care.
Some argue that medical malpractice lawsuits and verdicts lead to increased costs for healthcare providers in the form of defensive medicine and higher malpractice insurance premiums for doctors and hospitals. Defensive medicine is the practice of ordering medical tests, procedures, or consultations, or prescribing drugs, primarily to reduce the physician’s legal liability rather than to benefit the patient. In other words, it is ordering tests and treatments that may not be medically necessary, to protect the doctor from potential lawsuits. Every patient wants defense medicine to protect them from getting sicker or dying. No patient wants the doctor or hospital to refuse to order tests, treatments, procedures that could save their life. Patients want the best care possible even if it costs more time and money. Otherwise, what is the point of having health insurance or Medicare in the first place?
Every doctor and hospital have medical malpractice insurance coverage. Everyone! Medical malpractice insurance premiums are the fees paid to an insurance company by a medical professional or hospital to cover potential losses related to medical malpractice claims. The premiums are based on the medical professional’s risk of being sued, the type of medical practice they are in, and the amount of coverage they are requesting. Lawsuits can mildly affect these costs. On the other hand, the Tennessee legislature imposed has caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. The government’s caps limit the amount of money that can be awarded by a jury in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The maximum damages allowed by law are $750,000 or $1,000,000 for noneconomic damages depending on whether it is a “catastrophic case.” These caps reduce the amount of insurance premiums doctors and hospitals pay. This means that insurance companies pay less in settlements or verdicts, which results in their higher profit margins. In other words, malpractice insurance companies make more money on the backs of injured patients.
Statistics show medical malpractice lawsuits and verdicts lead to increased scrutiny of doctors and hospitals, as well as a greater focus on patient safety. This improves the quality of care that patients receive. We know from direct experience that some of our malpractice settlements and verdicts led to major changes in policy and care at Vanderbilt and other Nashville hospitals. These changes in policy and procedure save lives. In conclusion, the cost of litigation is necessary to benefit the public because it helps to ensure that negligent doctors and hospitals are held accountable for their actions. Litigation also helps to protect the rights of injured patients and to prevent future malpractice. Additionally, litigation forces doctors and hospitals to be held accountable.