Poor Patients are Less Likely to File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits, Reports New Study

According to a recent study, poor people are less likely than people with more money to file a medical malpractice complaint. This finding contradicts the “unconscious bias” possessed by many doctors who wrongly think that low-income patients are more likely to sue.

The researchers of the study say that this type of bias might make a doctor less willing to treat low-income patients, out of fear of not getting paid, or if he/she were to provide medical care then the quality or type of service might be different than what would be rendered to a patient with more money. Per Monterey Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Institute in California Dr. Ramon Jimenez, who is the author of the study, says that it is important that doctors become aware of this bias.

More on the study can be found in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Jimenez and his team looked at social and medical studies to determine the difference in medical malpractice claims and litigation rates among patients that are socially disadvantaged compared to those that are not. Jimenez is recommending that physicians become more culturally competent, which should help them better relate to or treat someone belonging to a different ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, sex, or sexual orientation.

One reason poor people are not as likely to file a complaint is that they believe they lack the resources to make this happen. Our Boston injury lawyers want you to know that your first consultation with a Massachusetts medical malpractice law firm is free. Should you decide to work with an attorney, you will only have to pay legal fees if a settlement or verdict is reached and that amount will come from the money you recover and not out of your own pocket.

It is the patient that suffers when medical mistakes are made or inadequate medical care is provided. Do not be intimated about exploring your legal options or worry that filing a Boston medical malpractice case is an action that you cannot afford.

Poor Patients Less Likely to Sue Doctors, Analysis Shows, US News, February 28, 2012

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research

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