The Medical Malpractice Liability System

1515 Words7 Pages
A tort action is brought about through provisions of private law and asserts that one party has experienced harm from the actions of another party and that the injured person seeks compensation for the harm (Pozgar & Santucci, 2009). Tort reforms are connected to shifts in medical malpractice law since the 1980’s when moves were made to change from court-decided Common Law to incorporation of statutes from many state legislatures (Waters, Budetti, Claxton, & Lundy, 2007). This paper will discuss the current state of tort law, the need for reform, and proposals for effective reform. Tort Law Today The medical malpractice liability system in the United States has two main purposes: (1) to provide compensation to patients injured through…show more content…
This potential for legal action by patients incentivizes physicians to purchase malpractice insurance as a protection against the devastation of attempting to pay such extreme amounts out of pocket; and whether due to the high cost of claims, the opportunity to profit or other forces, malpractice insurance premiums continue to climb similar to premiums for most other insurance types (Rakoczy, 2013). Proponents of reform also point to a tendency of physicians to protect against legal fault-finding through over or under-utilization of diagnostics and procedures, known as defensive medicine. For example, although empirical evidence has long supported avoidance of cesarean deliveries at 39 weeks in the absence of certain medical indications and demonstrated no better outcomes than vaginal deliveries, a high rate of cesarean deliveries continues in the United States, which allows the physician to demonstrate they have done all they can to assure a healthy delivery and position for defense against malpractice (Braunstein, 2012). Complicated by a healthcare system that financially rewards physicians for providing more services, approximately thirty percent of diagnostics, procedures, and hospitalizations are unnecessary, do not improve the patient’s condition and may, in fact, cause harm (Braunstein, 2012). Opponents of tort reform state that the purposes of such tort actions are a protection for the patient and that placing caps on the amount of damages awarded

More about The Medical Malpractice Liability System

Open Document