Generally speaking, I tend to let the ambulance chasers’ statements slide on off of my back. Their motives are clear enough: They want to convince people that their services are needed, so they can get 1/3 of the prospective client’s money. This causes them to run commercials on TV, to take their pay on spec, (speculating that there will be a payoff that makes it worthwhile,) and to convince people that well-intending doctors are somehow deserving of being pursued, and that the injured party is somehow justified in trying to take that doctor to the cleaners because he made a human mistake while trying to help that patient’s health, well-being, and quality of life. In short, the REAL reason that sharks don’t eat those kinds of lawyers is because of their stench. Since everyone knows it, I don’t generally pay much heed to them.
Recently, though, I read an article from one such Ambulance Chaser that tried to suggest that Medical Malpractice companies are suddenly making a killing despite the claims and demonstrated facts that substantiate a financial crisis. This unscrupulous attorney tries to twist statistics that show we’re making progress — progress that benefits EVERYONE — to make it seem that Malpractice carriers are making money hand over fist. So let’s take a look at the facts and get a few things straight:
When an insurance company is “insulated from economic shock” that’s a good thing. What good is a Malpractice policy from a company that can’t afford to pay the claims that arise? Yet the Chaser tried to slam the company for being solvent, stable, able to fulfill their contract and pay in case of a claim.
This attorney went on to object to that the company’s stock value has risen. In an economy like this, people are looking for solvent companies as a safe bet for their investments. Of course a solid company is going to be popular and valuable. That’s still no indictment.
That the company has reduced claims paid is also a boon. The judge and jury aren’t going to give people less than they deserve. By thwarting false claims, by refusing to pay on them instead of giving in to a smaller settlement, they’re helping to clean house on the scammers that raise the costs of insurance. Maybe that’s the real objection. He can’t get away with ripping the companies off as easily any more.
Some of that ilk have objected to the small percentage of claims which result in awards. Interestingly enough, in an article we posted here recently, studies were cited which demonstrate that a fair and balanced board which pre-screens cases for merit came up with almost exactly the same percentages of legit cases as the courts did… without the costs and time and effort of dragging it all through to the courts. Somehow, the ambulance chasers are trying to make it the insurance companies’ faults that false claims aren’t being paid? Once again, the sour grapes cause seems pretty obvious.
Precious little praise is being given to an industry which has tightened its belt considerably, and worked hard to remove the corruption that we ALL pay for eventually. Malpractice companies have worked at educating the physicians on the best ways to keep malpractice claims down. Both patient safety and documentation have been addressed comprehensively. The Professional Liability companies are working to reduce the cost of health care for everyone, and it’s successful… but that makes the pickings slim for ambulance chasers. I suppose it’s to be expected that they’d object to having their honey pots sealed back up. Don’t fall for their rhetoric, though.
No matter how much they try to twist the facts, the truth is that Ambulance Chasers are only out for themselves. If they help you, it’s only because they make a percentage off of whatever they can get the companies to pay you.
There are legitimate cases of malpractice. When something like that happens, everyone wants the patient to get fair and adequate compensation. (Everyone except the ambulance chasers, of course.)
Physicians and other health care professionals, including those who make the insurance possible, deserve a loud, long round of applause for their efforts to reduce costs. I suppose I should just let it run off my back when the ambulance chasers get at it. It’s certainly not a surprise that they try to twist the truth. I’m just not quite willing to let them steal the thunder from the people who really do care, and work at helping others every day. So take a bow, all of you, and accept our heartfelt thanks!