No Fault Medical Malpractice

Vermont is considering switching to a no-fault medical malpractice system. The theory? It is what they do in New Zealand. The thinking is that we should replicate New Zealand’s law since, you know, we do that with just about everything else.

I’m oversimplifying it, trying to be funny. The theory is that less fear of lawsuits means doctors practice less “defensive medicine” which makes up an estimated 99.99% of medical costs (source: AMA).

But this seemly good idea got kiboshed when someone decided to actually study it. “The research we found hasn’t found a strong correlation between tort reform and reductions in defensive medicine,” as reported in a state of Vermont commissioned study.

The study did support everything that everyone has been saying about the benefits of an early resolution to malpractice disputes. Yet malpractice carriers in Maryland generally start out with a zero offer and say, “We will have to figure it out in discovery?” Our last two medical malpractice verdicts have been a combined $3.6 million. Combined offers for settlement in those cases: $150,000.

Medical malpractice insurers have to consider that whole “three fingers point back” thing when considering who is at fault for the number of medical malpractice lawsuits.