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Law and Contemporary Problems

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malpractice, dispute resolution, medical diagnosis, medical liability


Law | Litigation | Medical Jurisprudence


The dramatic rise in the incidence of malpractice claims over the past thirty years has revealed several problems with the U.S. system of medical dispute resolution. First, the sudden and unexpected increase in claims has created an insurance crisis wherein various medical specialists have had difficulty obtaining affordable insurance coverage. One such crisis occurred in Florida in the mid-1980's, when an inability of many physicians to procure medical malpractice coverage caused some to limit or curtail their practice. This resulted in access problems for the public. This phenomenon has disproportionately befallen physicians practicing obstetric medicine. Second, besides contributing to periodic crises of access, the current medical dispute resolution system is often responsible for long delays in resolving claims and in compensating victims. Third, compensation is sometimes inequitable, encouraging frivolous suits and making the system expensive to operate. Finally, while there is no evidence that the system reduces bad care, it clearly contributes to increased cost by encouraging unjustified defensive medicine.



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