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December 12, 2003

The cost of free money

It's a purely American delusion that there exists such a thing as free money. (Allow me my sweeping generalizations, please.) More services and less taxation? Sure thing -- that's more in my paycheck, right! Rebates on my purchases? What a bargain! Suing my doctor for malpractice? Bonanza!

What's never counted is the cost of free money. But this amazing essay shows starkly the cost of medical litigation -- steadily worsening medical care. (Thanks to overlawyered.com for the link.)

Some choice quotes:

our judicial system appears to have so easily dispensed with the basic elements of tort law: In order to have a claim, a defendant must have been negligent, and that negligence must have caused injury to a plaintiff ... [but] only the degree of injury, not negligence, predicts how a jury will decide a malpractice case.

This is ... unfathomable. How do these cases even survive in the court? There seems to be this impression of plaintiffs, and apparently perpetuated by the judiciary, that if something bad has happened, someone must be negligent. And we'll damn well sue until we find them.

Another quote, from a juror of a successful plaintiff who sued after her husband hit an overhead wire with a metal pole:

“Oh, we didn’t think the electrical company did anything wrong, but this way the children will be taken care of.”

But is she truly willing to pay for their care, I wonder?


Posted by david at December 12, 2003 04:32 PM | TrackBack
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An article in a similar vein from Newsweek: Civil Wars.

Posted by: david on December 15, 2003 01:11 PM
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