The Columbus Dispatch reports that medical malpractice claims dropped by 41 percent between 2005 and 2010, largely impacted by Ohio’s tort-reform law.
The law, signed by Gov. Bob Taft in 2003, may now be having a negative effect on those with legitimate claims, though; after physicians complained that the skyrocketing cost of malpractice insurance premiums were forcing them out of business, a cap was placed on “pain and suffering” damages at $500,000 per occurrence, making some cases impractical to pursue.
The result of this bill was a record drop in closed claims to 2,988 in 2010, the lowest level since 2005, when the state began keeping records. Average malpractice payments declined by 38 percent over that five-year period, a total of $100 million.
Tim Maglione of the Ohio State Medical Association does not believe this decrease is drastic enough, though he adds, “There is absolutely nothing in the law that closes the courthouse door to anyone that has a legitimate medical liability claim.” Read the complete details here:
Lawsuits against doctors decline
Steve Crandall, a top ranked medical malpractice attorney in the state of Ohio, does not believe this law makes any sense; the cap on “pain and suffering” does nothing to advance the purported purpose of the law or curb so-called frivolous claims, but rather further harms those patients whom a jury has indicated have meritorious claims and deserve compensation, according to Crandall.
“What it really does is limit the liability of insurance carriers who have no laws on the amount they can charge physicians,” Crandall says. “The insurance industry used the physicians to do their bidding and help their business.”
If you have questions about medical malpractice in Ohio, or if you’ve been impacted by Senate Bill 281, please contact Steve Crandall with any of your medical malpractice questions.