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Medical Malpractice…from an Attorney’s Perspective

It would be wonderful to have an alternative dispute resolution process for medical malpractice claims that is truly fair and effective. There certainly should be better ways to resolve grievances than filing medical malpractice lawsuits. For now, the only method of alternative dispute resolution is private negotiations and mediation.

The problem is that doctors and their insurance companies have an advantage in medical malpractice cases: The cases are expensive to take to trial, and doctors prevail in the majority of cases that are taken to trial. This causes private negotiations and mediation to be less effective than they should be. This is undoubtedly why it was reported that doctor’s opposed making the program mandatory.

It is also interesting that insurers would say that increased administrative costs could outweigh any decrease in litigation. If insurers are saying that the administrative costs will be higher than any money saved in jury awards to injured patients, they are making a point that is ugly but true: Insurance companies are not about making people whole – they are about paying the least amount of dollars possible. Insurance companies like the current system, where it is difficult for an injured patient to make a claim and prosecute that claim to a fair resolution. A fair process, with an even playing field would not be attractive to an insurance company.