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According to the Institute of Medicine, avoidable medical errors cause as many as 98,000 deaths each year. The economic cost to society is estimated at $ 29 billion. If the Centers for Disease Control listed medical errors as a category, preventable medical mistakes would be the sixth leading cause of death. Mistakes by health care professionals kill more people annually than automobile accidents or guns, yet there are only about 14,000 medical malpractice payments each year. When health care professionals, corporations, and state agencies or regulators fail to protect the public, the civil justice systemis the last resort for injured patients and their families who seek to hold the wrongdoers responsible.