A recent study revealed that poor people are the least likely to sue for medical malpractice compared to their wealthier counterparts, despite popular stereotypes. The study authors argue that many physicians have an "unconscious bias" against poorer patients in regards to their likelihood of suing, perhaps making doctors less willling to treat these patients or lead them to care for these patients differently.
For the study, the researchers reviewed previous research to analyze litigation results and medical malpractice claims among low-income and wealthier patients. In general, they found that poor people were less likely to sue because of a a lack of access to legal help or not enough money to initiate a medical malpractice claim.
However, the kind of stereotypes that doctors may hold about low-income patients include fears that these patients won't be able to pay, as well as the idea that these patients will be more likely to sue. The researchers emphasize the need for doctors to be more culturally sensitive and overcome any bias. Relieving this biases would help improve the patient-doctor relationship, leading to better care and a lower likelihood of medical malpractice claims.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.