A case in which a spine surgeon operated at the wrong level and performed a two-level fusion when a patient only needed a single level lumbar diskectomy and fusion was recently settled for $350,000. Because of the surgeon's mistake the plaintiff had to have a second surgery to correct the mistake and have the proper procedure done. The plaintiff's medical bills amounted to just under $155,000.
The reason this is a great example of how medical malpractice should be handled is because the case was settled BEFORE experts were brought in. Experts are the main reason that litigating medical malpractice can be so expensive and exclusive to those who can afford it. In this case the insurance company recognized that their insured was liable and that was that. In hundreds of other cases where liability is equally evident insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out.
I commend the insurance companies if they do that when a claim is frivolous, but when it's this obvious it should be handled expediently at least expense for both parties. If there are problems with the legal process that raise the cost of healthcare it's not frivolous lawsuits... it's these frivolous defenses that cost tens of thousands and are exposed in the end.