NEW YORK, July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With President Obama's signature Affordable Care Act now ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, some trial lawyers say they expect a sharp increase in medical malpractice suits because of the estimated 20 million to 40 million uninsured Americans who soon will gain coverage -- and access to physician services.
James A. Morris, Jr., a plaintiffs' attorney with the New York mass-tort and personal-injury litigation law-firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, said he believes many doctors -- and hospitals -- are ill-prepared for the increased caseload embodied by that tsunami of newly insured patients, and that some will seek to cope using a variety of time-saving techniques.
However, Morris warned, as a survival strategy, haste will all but guarantee that harmful medical mistakes and errors occur in higher number than already is the case.
"I think there's no question that medical errors will happen on a more frequent basis once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect in either 2014 or 2015 and those individuals and families who were previously uninsured sign up for coverage," said Morris, who joined Weitz & Luxenberg earlier this year and is credited with winning millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients during the three-decade span of his career, which began in Austin, Texas.
"The more people you have accessing medical care, the greater the potential incidence of medical mistakes in which injuries or death occur," Morris said.
The Weitz & Luxenberg attorney explained that "most medical mistakes in hospitals are due to the unavailability of resources or to physicians and staff being so overworked that they haven't the time necessary to fully investigate a patient's prior medical history, co-morbidities and drug use before procedures are performed."
When the uninsured begin exercising their rights under the Affordable Care Act, one way healthcare providers might reduce the risk of later ending up in court is by taking steps to expand the size of their staffs and to see that skills are up to snuff, Morris offered.
"The need is for more doctors, nurses and allied-health practitioners," he said. "For that reason, schools of medicine and nursing should strive to enroll more students, while hospitals should more aggressively recruit licensed and fully trained practitioners from both inside and outside the U.S."
For now, injured patients and their families have little alternative but to turn to the courts for help, Morris indicated.
"Medical-malpractice attorneys act as a watchdog over the medical profession," he said, noting that Weitz & Luxenberg is able to quickly intervene in cases involving medical mistake or error injuries because the firm has "the resources, talent and time to adequately investigate these claims and then pursue them."
About Weitz & Luxenberg:
Founded in 1986 by attorneys Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today ranks among the nation's leading law firms. Weitz & Luxenberg has secured more than $7.5 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The firm's numerous practice areas include: asbestos and mesothelioma, defective medicines and devices, environmental pollutants, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Victims of accidents are invited to rely on Weitz & Luxenberg's more than 25 years of handling such cases - begin by contacting the firm's Client Relations department at 1-800-476-6070 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a free legal consultation. More information: www.weitzlux.com
Contact: Dave Kufeld, (800) 476-6070
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SOURCE Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.