The typical victim of a medical error wants fair compensation not a lawsuit. Most doctors would rather have their insurance companies pay legitimate claims than be forced to endure a lawsuit. Doctors and patient’s are victims of the refusal of medical liability companies to pay legitimate claims. I have been handling medical malpractice cases for about 25 years and have never settled one with ProAssurance – Alabama’s leading medical malpractice insurer – without filing a suit. If you think my experience is unique please have anyone you know who settled a claim with ProAssurance without filing a suit to post on this blog for all to see or email me directly if privacy is an issue.
Forcing litigation is unique to medical claims. In other injury cases most insurance companies try to settle legitimate claims. Not only is taking responsibility the “right” thing to do it can be cost effective.
In 2002 the University of Michigan Health System started a policy of “honesty and apology”. CBS reports that the policy change has reduced claims from 262 in 2001 to 83 in 2007. Fewer claims have allowed the system to drop its malpractice insurance cash reserves from 73 million to 13 million. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/12/eveningnews/main5306072.shtml
The most effective way to reduce medical malpractice litigation would be for ProAssurance to settle legitimate claims before a suit is ever filed.