WASHINGTON, D.C.—Television advertisements soliciting plaintiffs for medical malpractice lawsuits increased from about 10,150 ads in 2004 to more than 156,000 ads in 2008—nearly a 1,400 percent increase in four years, according to a new study released today. The study showed that spending for these ads increased from $3.8 million to nearly $62 million during this time period—a 1,300 percent increase in 2008-adjusted dollars.
Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, which sponsored the study, said the finding is a window into what appears to be the growing role of medical malpractice cases in the overall litigation landscape. “Lawsuits are ultimately a business driven by the plaintiffs’ bar, and when you see the marketing of medical malpractice lawsuits exploding like this, it tells you that these lawsuits are a growing sector within the larger lawsuit industry,” she said.
The study was conducted by the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Evan Tracey, the firm’s president and veteran advertising analyst, said, “There is no question that the number of ads airing has increased dramatically,” said Tracey. “As with every other advertising sector, marketers tend to go with what is working,” he said.
This new evidence of growth in plaintiffs’ lawyer medical malpractice lawsuits comes amid an increased focus on medical liability reform—or lack thereof—in the larger healthcare reform debate.
In August, former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean made a telling statement when he answered a question at a Congressional town hall meeting about the lack of medical liability reform in the current healthcare reform proposals. Dean responded, “The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people that wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth.”
“This study is yet another piece of evidence that we need meaningful medical liability reform as a key ingredient of any workable healthcare reform package,” said Rickard.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.