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Are Frivolous Lawsuits Driving Up Healthcare Costs?

A new organization says they are and invites all to their Million Email March

By

Updated: November 22, 2003

Lawsuit Abuse Makes Us Sick

A new nonprofit organization asks the question, "Are you one of the millions who are tired of lawsuit abuse?" The organization is aptly named Lawsuit Abuse Makes Us Sick, and is affiliated with another organization, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA).

(Note: Ironically, because of the keywords in this article, the ads below this comment and at the bottom of the page will be for personal injury lawyers. Please note that I neither choose nor endorse any advertisement on this site.)

Dr. Elizabeth Connell is an OB/GYN and former FDA advisory panel chairperson. She has joined the Sick of Lawsuits Campaign as Senior Counselor. Dr. Connell has been involved in lawsuit abuse issues for years and wants Americans to know how frivolous lawsuits threaten our healthcare system by driving up costs, jeopardizing medical innovation, limiting access to healthcare and making doctors afraid to practice medicine.

    "I am fed-up with the shameless tactics of some personal injury lawyers and the out-of-control litigation that endangers our access to healthcare," Dr. Connell said. "I am very pleased to be part of the Sick of Lawsuits campaign and to help to inform Americans about how lawsuit abuse threatens our entire healthcare system."

In a recent press release, stated the following "Lawsuit Abuse Facts: "

  • According to a recent Towers Perrin study, the U.S. tort liability system cost each U.S. citizen $721 in 2001 ($205 billion total).
  • More than 40 percent of doctors reported avoiding prescribing appropriate medication because they knew the drug might be involved in litigation.
  • Personal injury lawyers walk away with 30-50 percent of any jury award to the plaintiff, plus an additional percentage of the award to cover expenses.
  • Since its widely used cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol was withdrawn from the market, Bayer is facing more than 8,000 lawsuits. The New York Times notes that at least 6,000 of those lawsuits, however, are being filed by people who did not suffer any side effects whatsoever.

Their web site state these "Fast Facts - Symptoms of Lawsuit Abuse:"

  • Lawsuit abuse affects all Americans on different levels.
  • 80% of Americans say personal injury attorneys take too much of their clients' winnings.
  • 76% of Americans believe medical liability lawsuits threaten access to quality healthcare for families.
  • 74% of Americans describe medical liability issue as crisis or major problem.
  • By 61% to 22% margin, Americans say lawsuits against doctors result in wealthy lawyers rather than improved quality of care for patients.
  • Lawsuit costs passed on to consumers add up to nearly $721 per year for every person in America today.
  • Because of litigation fears, 79% of doctors said they had ordered more tests than they would based only on professional judgment of what is medically needed.
  • It takes at least a year to resolve most lawsuits, and delays of three to five years are not uncommon. Unfortunately, injured people with legitimate claims can wait years before their cases go to trial.
  • An estimated $50 billion per year is spent on unnecessary test procedures designed only to guard doctors and hospitals against malpractice claims.
  • Almost half of the money spent by physician insurers goes towards defending cases that ultimately are closed without compensation paid to the claimant.

They also invite interested individuals to take action by visiting www.SickofLawsuits.org and joining their Million Email March on Washington D.C.

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