We need to create a new way to deal with medical malpractice. Having people file a bunch of lawsuits against doctors in order to get compensated for the results of medical mistakes means that only people who have access to good lawyers get what they are entitled to as recompense for problems caused by medical mistakes and errors by their doctors. That is true even though most lawyers who deal with these kinds of cases take them on a contingent fee basis, meaning you don’t pay until the case is over, and only get paid if you win. That doesn’t help with the fact that one still needs to know how to find a good attorney to represent one. There are many fly-by-night personal-injury lawyers and many advertise for their clients. Lots of poor people end up using these lawyers because they do not know their options.
The difference in lawyer competence will mean that poor people will end up getting much worse representation than people with lots of resources and personal contacts. Another problem with the lawsuit approach is that people typical only file these lawsuits when they have suffered a grievous loss and most medical mistakes don’t result in this kind of loss. This means that people who suffer minor loss as a result of medical error or mistake typically get no compensation whatsoever. Another problem is that it takes many years to complete the process of receiving compensation through a lawsuit, which means that people who do suffer a serious problem don’t get any compensation until long after the problem occurs.
In some Scandinavian countries and in New Zealand there is a process by which people can seek compensation through a system operated by the state, which doesn’t require anyone to file a lawsuit to get compensation. These system are not based on fault. Instead, these systems are designed to see everybody compensated who has a bad experience. Unlike the American system where people who suffer minor problems never end up getting any help, these alternative systems provide help regardless of whether your problem is a big one or a small one.
The countries that that currently provide this sort of system are countries where the government is paying for healthcare without the use of private insurance companies. Although I don’t think it is necessarily a requirement for setting up a system that compensates individuals for medical issues without the use of lawsuits. It seems to me that if this kind of a system exists people will decide to stop using medical professionals who do not participate in this system regardless of what the payment system is and whether private insurance companies are involved.
In these systems your claim is reviewed by both medical and legal professionals, but not ones that you paid to represent you, instead they are professionals who are not attached to any party to the proceeding. But, if you think you’ve gotten a bad decision from these people, you can appeal to a review board. You can hire yourself your own attorney to participate in this process with you so you can get assistance if you want to.