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Patients Need the Benefits Provided by Medical Malpractice Insurance

Medical malpractice insurance is paid for by health care providers. It covers the injuries received by patients from medical error or malpractice. Once a person discovers that they have been injured due to medical negligence, they may choose to seek the advice of an attorney. After careful consideration, the attorney files a claim against the medical professional against the medical professional they allege caused harm to their client.

Most patients have been the victim of some type of medical error. Fortunately, most of these injuries did not result in any harm. In fact, only 2% of medical errors do harm to patients.

If the patient is harmed by medical care or the lack thereof, they can seek damages in court. Any damages awarded are usually paid by the medical malpractice insurance policy.

In the past few years, the actual number of medical malpractice cases filed in court has gone down. However, the dollar amounts of awards have gone up. This is due in part to the increased damages paid pain and suffering.

How to Liability Claims Affect Doctor-Patient Relationships?

Most liability insurance claims do not necessarily need to create adversarial relationships between those seeking damages and the professional accused of causing those damages. With medical malpractice claims, damages are usually dealt with in court. This may be true due to the fact that when a patient brings up the subject of medical harm while in the hospital, the healthcare provider typically becomes defensive fearing a devastating lawsuit.

It is understandable why providers must be careful. Medical malpractice insurance premiums have skyrocketed in the last several years. These increased costs take a huge bite out of provider profits. Another problem that adds costs to medical providers is the reduced amounts health insurance companies pay for services. When a professional has increasing costs combined with lower reimbursement amounts, it is easy to see why they become guarded when presented with the possibility of an insurance claim against them.

Doctors Begin to Protest

Doctors are lifting their voices in protest, and some are leaving for other states where medical liability laws are more favorable to them. Meanwhile, it seems as if only the lawyers are left to care about the concerns of patients.

The arguments have reached the halls of Congress. Tort reform is unpopular with many of the lawyers in Congress. Yet other representatives and senators are more sympathetic with doctors and healthcare providers. Surely, balance can be achieved. Effective reform is necessary to help both healthcare providers and patients.

President Bush injected his opinion into the debate by calling on Congress to pass, but were reform bill. Democrats oppose the bill, and it did not pass in 2005. In 2006, another attempt was made to pass some sort of tort reform legislation. Once again, the major was rejected.

Are all Liability Claimants after Easy Money?

If you listen to insurance companies, you would begin believing that every person who makes a claim against a medical professional is only trying to get rich off the backs of these hard-working professionals. You would also think that all attorneys are ambulance chasers. While there may be some people who are rolling after money, the vast majority of lawyers and claimants have legitimate problems that need to be addressed.

Most patients that have been harmed by medical errors have no desire to put an undue burden on physicians, the courts, or any healthcare provider. Yet, if they received a devastating injury, they need the help provided by malpractice insurance. A proper balance must be achieved to protect the interests of all concerned without harming the provider/patient relationship, without harming the ability of an injured person to be reimbursed and receive necessary compensation for injuries, and without harming the ability of a medical provider to stay in business.

Are There Any Solutions?

In a perfect world, there would be no medical errors. In fact, the efforts of medical professionals to reduce errors are proving successful. But inevitably, some errors will continue to happen. It is the cases that cause severe injury that deserve the protection of the malpractice system.

States can help minimize lawsuits by offering alternative solutions. New laws governing the malpractice process may become necessary to reduce the negative impact of high insurance premiums on medical professionals. Some solutions offered by special interest groups include arbitration, medical review boards for malpractice cases, and tort reform.

Perhaps the best solution of all is better communication between health care providers and their patients. If the hospital steps in and takes steps to reduce injury while reducing or eliminating the hospital charge, a patient may not need to engage the services of a lawyer. This is one compelling example of the best in practice solution for the hospital and the patient. If a malpractice insurance claim is required, it could be dealt with by a claims representative, the doctor, and the patient rather than a lawyer and court.