Have you ever been ripped off by an auto mechanic? Have you ever paid for a non-refundable product or service that truly didn’t live up to your expectations? Have you ever hired someone for help only to have the problem get worse rather than better?
If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions, you know what it’s like to feel powerless as a consumer. Thankfully, the internet gives most of us a voice to air our grievances. Many companies are desperate to avoid scathing “Yelp” reviews and other bad publicity, which gives average Americans some leverage to have their concerns addressed. Unfortunately, we don’t really have this power when it comes to health care.
Many critics assume that medical malpractice lawsuits are all about money. They are about money to some extent, and this is appropriate. Victims of medical malpractice have a right to recover damages to help pay for the costs of past and future medical bills and other expenses.
But for most victims, lawsuits are also about seeking justice, calling attention to a problem and hopefully preventing others from suffering the consequences of medical negligence. Medical malpractice lawsuits often involve a significant investment of time, money and emotional energy. As such, these are not opportunistic people looking for their big payday. Most are seriously injured patients whose concerns have been ignored by physicians and hospitals. Without the help of an attorney, many of these patients cannot even get an explanation for their injuries, much less compensation.
The next time that you get short-changed in a business transaction, imagine what it would feel like if what you lost was your health, your child’s health or the life of a family member. Financial compensation is important, but that’s just the beginning for most plaintiffs.
Source: Forbes, “Malpractice Lawsuits Aren’t Just About Money,” Steve Cohen, June 18, 2014