Everywhere I go, whether it be a dinner party, nonprofit organization meetings, church or on the golf course, people always ask me why trial lawyers file frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. “Don’t insurance companies raise our rates when they have to pay for those suits?” they ask.
Here’s my answer: Frivolous lawsuit claims are overblown. They’re circulated by powerful corporate interests that want to escape accountability for the dangerous products they market to the public. Government agencies that track civil suits report declining numbers.
The real problem is the insurance company gouging physicians. Annual statements of the 15 largest companies handling malpractice insurance show that premium collections increased by 120 percent between 2000 and 2004, while claims rose by only 5.7 percent.
The rate of premium increase was 21 times greater than the rate of increase in claims payments during the same period. None of that has anything to do with lawsuits and everything to do with the insurance industry stuffing its pockets at the expense of the American public.