Articles Posted in Paul Kruse

Below Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson Attorney Paul Kruse responds to an editorial published earlier this fall in the Lebanon Reporter. Mr. Kruse counters several myths relating to tort reform for medical malpractice lawsuits, citing studies supporting his argument that medical malpractice costs represent a small percentage of overall healthcare costs. Furthermore, Mr. Kruse explains why no further tort reform for medical malpractice claims is necessary.
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Your recent editorial on September 17, 2009, authored by Chip Minemyer, titled “Without Tort Reform, There Should Be No Health Overhaul,” was misleading and inaccurate. It was simply an attempt to influence public opinion in favor of big corporations and insurance companies and harpoon injury victims’ claims.

Minemyer starts his column with the statement that litigation reform is an issue “central to improving the cost of healthcare and access to treatment.” In fact, the cost of medical malpractice is actually a tiny percentage of healthcare costs, in part because medical malpractice claims are far less frequent than insurance companies would lead people to believe. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), malpractice costs amount to less than two percent of overall healthcare spending.

President Obama proposed to implement measures to limit the legal rights of severely injured persons as part of the healthcare discussion, apparently as a bargaining chip to reduce Republican opposition to his healthcare reform plan. His medical malpractice reform proposal will hurt patients and dump more cost on taxpayers. It would not eliminate death and injuries but merely shift costs of caring for malpractice victims from perpetrators of malpractice to hard pressed state Medicaid systems, for which state and federal taxpayers share the cost. In fact, according to the insurance industry’s own data, medical malpractice insurance claims and premiums have been trending downward for years.
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I have been a personal injury attorney at the law firm Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson for the past 30 years. Insurance companies and their clients have ignored the facts about personal injury litigation and propagate the myth that frivolous claims threaten society. In fact, insurance companies only pay for harm caused by their insured. Claims that have no substance–if they exist–are dismissed by the court or are lost at trial.

I responded to a recent newspaper editorial written under the headline: “Lawyers, spurious lawsuits threaten a potential civic disaster”. Too many newspaper editors have fallen prey to the propaganda campaigns of insurance companies who try to poison the perception of the public–and potential jurors in our community–about the impact of litigation on our society. In fact, our homes, cars, products and lives are safer because personal injury lawyers hold manufacuturers and others accountable for their misconduct.

Attached is my entire letter to the Editor for the Lebanon Reporter:
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