September 21, 2012, by Joanna
Jennifer Shiver knows what it means to not only be a young widow,
but a widow with two young boys to be raised on her own.
The Cumming mother is among thousands of silent victims of medical
malpractice each year who are either harmed by a doctor or lose a
family member due to medical negligence. When Jennifer's husband
died from complications from a botched bariatric bypass surgery,
her life only got worse when no lawyer would take the case. As a
result, she received no compensation from her husband's death and
has struggled to raise her family.
The lawyers said they just couldn't make enough money off the
Many know the current medical liability system doesn't work for
physicians, but the truth is that it also fails patients and their
families. An often overlooked problem with the current system is
the vast number of medical-injured patients and families that never
This week, I released results of the first national survey of
attorneys that focuses on medical malpractice victims' access to
the civil justice system. The findings reveal that many legitimate
victims of medical malpractice have no meaningful access to the
civil justice system.
Victims will often search for attorneys to take a case but find
few takers. Because of the expense of litigating medical
malpractice claims, lawyers can only financially justify taking
cases with large expected damage awards, forcing them to reject
many legitimate cases. The victims that are unable to find legal
representation typically receive no compensation for their
injuries. That leaves many patients - especially the poor and
elderly - without the compensation they desperately deserve.
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& Research by Shepherd-Bailey