The Insurance Commissioner from the State of Washington has issued a report that examines whether or not there is a medical malpractice insurance crisis in the state.
Rather than relying on simple statements from doctors and their insurers the Insurance Commissioner did a closed claim study covering about 90% of the physicians from the state. The report shows that the number of $1,000,000+ verdicts or settlements is relatively flat and that there were only 50 verdicts for the plaintiff in the 10 – year period covered by the study. Seventy-three percent of the claimants recovered nothing.
This data, not dissimilar from information received from the a recent Texas study, adds further support for the notion that rising medical malpractice insurance rates are out of control or that they are caused by a defect in the jury system that will be fixed by caps on damages.
The information learned in this study is not available in Tennessee and State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, the leading physician insurer in the state, does not want to share the data. There is a move at foot in the Tennessee legislature to force them to do so; let’s hope it works.
Reasonable people require facts before they make a decision. A study of the facts is particularly important before the government begins to tinker with the right to trial by jury. The insurance companies should have the burden of proof on this issue; they should be required to open their books and give legislators the data they need to make an informed decision.
Thanks to John Philo for sharing the information.