Did You Know?
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Tort reform probably won't help reduce premiums for doctors or patients

Tort reformers would have you believe that your high insurance premiums are caused by greedy plaintiffs and attorneys constantly suing doctors and other medical professionals. I have my doubts that more tort reform will help solve this problem. In fact, even as a conservative, I believe most tort reform will make things worse doctors are rarely sued as it is.

Doctors are rarely sued because tort reform already provides them quite a bit of legal protection in Arkansas. First of all, unlike any other defendants, doctors always get home field advantage because there's a law that says they must be sued where the negligence occurred. Second, expert medical witnesses are necessary in Arkansas, but it is extremely difficult to find them. Arkansas has a rule that says plaintiffs must find a medical expert that is familiar with the local standard of care. (Many states have a national standard of care, which is much easier for experts to testify about.) This rule severely limits the number of experts who can testify. And this means the fees will be higher. Medical experts probably average around $450 an hour in Arkansas, and by the time a trial is over, that expert will have worked for thirty to sixty hours. And sometimes multiple experts are needed. Lawyers must be willing to foot the bill for experts themselves and accept the loss if they lose. To justify such a high risk, the case must have enough damages at stake to justify risking so much money.







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