A new study of medical malpractice cases shows what ethical trial attorneys have always known — medical malpractice settlements are closely tied to merit and quality of care. Although tort reformers have claimed settlements in malpractice suits are a “lottery”, where fault and settlement are not related, a new analysis of eleven studies of medical malpractice settlements and claims have shown that the outcomes of settlements are derived from the patient’s quality of care in the particular situation. The amount that is paid to the victim is also determined by the merit of the claim of negligence. This new analysis examined information from over twenty thousand malpractice cases and ultimately determined that strong cases are eighty five to ninety percent more likely to be settled than ones considered to be less meritorious. When compared to strong cases, settlement offers are also not only unlikely in weak cases, but if they are made they are for significantly less money. By proving that settlements are based on quality of care and not the “lottery” system, this study provides compelling evidence that the “system” is working.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.