Tort System Treats Doctors Better Than Most People Think
Professor Philip Peters at the University of Missouri studied 17 years worth of malpractice filings across various areas of the country, and he came to some interesting conclusions:
- Negligence matters and plaintiffs rarely win weak cases. Plaintiffs have more success in toss-up cases and have better outcomes in cases with strong evidence of medical negligence.
- Juries have the ability to recognize weak cases and agree with independent legal experts 80 to 90 percent of the time regarding such cases.
- Doctors are victorious in 50 percent of the cases that independent legal experts expected plaintiffs to win. (Emphasis added.)
- Factors systematically favor medical defendants in the courtroom. Those factors include the defendant's superior resources, the social standing of physicians, social norms against "profiting" by injury and the jury's willingness to give physicians the "benefit of the doubt" when the evidence of negligence is conflicting.
The press release I linked to has a bit more about the study, but I'll see if I can't find a copy of the real thing. Maybe this report will cause tort "reformers" some bad luck, since this release was issued on Friday the 13th. Cross posted to Corpreform.com
Update: A link to the entire paper can be found at Deliberations. Thanks to Eric Turkewitz for the link.