Care Providers Win Most Cases
According to Jury Verdict Research,
in the year 2000, health care providers won approximately
62% of the cases that were tried by a jury. That means
that the patients only prevailed in approximately
38% of all the jury trial cases in this country.
In cases involving the allegation of
misdiagnosis in a medical malpractice case, patients
only won 37% of the jury trials against the defendant
health care providers. These lopsided statistics demonstrate
that the jury system in this country is not using
sympathy to give run away verdicts to patients of
Jury Verdict Research bases these statistics
from its nationwide database of 193,500 personal-injury
verdicts and settlements.
The 2000 statistics are slightly higher
than in the previous years, but the six year average
demonstrates that patients only won 34% of the time
and health care providers won 66% of the jury trials.
It is hard to argue that jury awards
to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases is a valid
basis to limit a patient's recovery in these cases.
From 1995 to 1996 the percentage of jury trials won
by plaintiffs actually went down by 6%. That trend
continued between 1997 to 1998 when verdicts decreased
from 35% to 33% of jury cases won by the plaintiff.
Critics of these statistics argue that
the median award increased by approximately $250,000
between 1999 and 2000. However, what is not mentioned
is the fact that the overall costs of pursuing these
cases and the low chance of prevailing at a jury trial
has had a chilling effect on filing these cases. Thus,
only the most clear cut high damage cases are worth
pursing. Those cases are worth more and thus drive
the statistical average award higher.
In other words, without more zero and
low dollar verdicts driving the average award lower,
the median award will appear higher. This simply means
that all of the past tort reform has worked to eliminate
the frivilous cases from being pursued in favor of
the really obvious cases of malpractice that have
the most devastating consequences for the patients.
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