There's the insurance, which can run $100,000 or more. There are the awards when juries find doctors have done wrong.
And then there are all the tests that doctors perform simply to stave off litigation. Opponents of the current malpractice system say these "defensive medicine" practices add 20 percent to the cost of health care.
"So if we could make a dent in that, without impacting the quality of care that people are receiving, we think that's a good thing," says Jeff Segal, a neurosurgeon and the head of a group called Medical Justice. The North Carolina-based organization aims to take malpractice cases away from judges and juries. They're one of a few national groups hoping to make Tennessee the first state to do away with its medical malpractice system.