A recent study in the New England Journal of medicine found that three percent of medical malpractice lawsuits filed have no verifiable injuries. This means that in 97% of all cases, there is a verifiable injury, and that lawsuit cannot be called frivolous. Justinian at corpreform.com has a great analogy at his site:
The remaining question is whether malpractice was the cause of those injuries. As it turns out, in 37% of cases, a judge or jury decided the answer was no.
If you believe that because 37% of malpractice cases end in the equivalent of a “not guilty” verdict that the civil justice system is broken, then you should also come to the conclusion that the criminal justice system is broken, too. In California, 32.5% of criminal prosecutions result in a “not guilty” verdict. In San Francisco, a whopping 62% of prosecutions end in acquittal!
The study also revealed that “frivolous” lawsuits are not a major factor on rising malpractice premiums, and “frivolous” lawsuits don’t clog the court system.
Thanks to Brandon at Tennessee Med Mal Law blog for bringing this study to my attention.