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Medical Malpractice Reform Can End Insult to the Injured - Georgia Public Policy Foundation

September 21, 2012, by Joanna Shepherd-Bailey

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 case. 

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 receive compensation. 

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.

Click to Read Full Article & Research by Shepherd-Bailey