Posted by Jonathan A. Barash
Insurers, lawyers, and industry groups have reported a rise in claims since the U.S. economy took a downturn.
Last month, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported an increase in the number of medical malpractice cases filed in Georgia. The report was based, at least in part, on an increase in claims seen by MAG Mutual Insurance Co., Georgia’s largest medical malpractice insurer. However, MAG Mutual’s president and COO, Daryl Grimes, was not ready to conclusively link the increase to current economic conditions until they had seen several years worth of numbers. Nonetheless, the Chronicle’s article also quoted Dr. Richard E. Anderson, chairman and CEO of The Doctor’s Co. (the country’s largest medical malpractice insurer), who said that as a general rule, malpractice claims increase in bad economic times and that there has been a recent uptick in the number of claims against healthcare providers. (As others interviewed for the Chronicle’s article predicted, the number of medical malpractice claims in the future will also depend on whether the Georgia Supreme Court upholds a recent trial court ruling striking down the 2005 tort reform law that capped non-economic damages at $350,000. See February 23, 2009 Georgia Insurance Defense Lawyer Blog post, “Georgia Judge Strikes Down Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Actions”.)