Medical malpractice attorneys that defend doctors love medical malpractice caps. They just think they are the greatest invention since the iPhone. Or something like that. I always thought it was misplaced because what defense lawyers want more than anything else is more cases and I assumed that malpractice caps meant less money in legal fees for them.
For reasons I can’t explain, the opposite may well be true. In a study in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law titled “Medical Malpractice Reform and Insurer Claims Defense: Unintended Effects?”, the authors looked at the impact of malpractice tort reforms on the cost of defending medical negligence cases. What they found really surprised me: defense expenses were actually higher in those states where noneconomic damage caps, punitive damage limits, and attorney fee limits had been implemented.
The law of intended consequences is really something. I honestly cannot think of a reason why this would be true. And it is just one study. But it does throw another monkey wrench into one of the rationales for medical malpractice cap.
- An abstract of the study