25 Facts About Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a huge safety concern in the United States and results in thousands of injury and deaths annually.

25 things you should know about medical malpractice

  1. Medical negligence is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US.
  2. There are 80,000 to 100,000 deaths in the US annually as a result of an error in diagnosis
  3. 195,000 patients die in hospitals each year because of preventable mistakes.
  4. $38.8 billion was paid out for misdiagnosis of a patient between 1986 and 2010.
  5. There are approximately 15,000 to 19,000 suits filed each year in the US.
  6. A study by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine conducted a study in 2009 that concluded that the majority of medical doctors would face a lawsuit sometime during their professional career.
  7. Malpractice causes lots of stress for medical doctors. Stress can many times lead to early burn-outs of their careers as well as depression.
  8. 80% of the lawsuits brought to court end up with no payouts at all.
  9. The key to a medical malpractice case is that the medical professional must violate the general standard of care of a patient as set forth by the medical community.
  10. The level of medical care can change depending on the age of the patient and the location of the care.
  11. Three things any successful medical malpractice case must prove:
    1. The plaintiff’s attorney must show that there was a breach of duty causing a lack of medical care that another healthcare professional would have used.
    2. There must be an emotional, or physical injury caused by the medical professional.
    3. There must be sufficient evidence that proves the medical professional caused the damage.
  12. The injury or harm usually has to be substantial because of the high cost of litigation. There must be a considerable injury to the plaintiff.
  13. The person harmed usually doesn’t have to pay any costs up front. The legal firm will cover all costs then only collect any fees if the plaintiff wins. Upon winning, the legal firm will get a percentage of the settlement.
  14. Legal cases taken to court can take months or years to fight. There is a statute of limitations to file any injury case which is usually about two years.
  15. An expert witness will be needed to testify to your injury and also testify that the medical professional made an error that caused your injury.
  16. Both the plaintiff and the defendant will present expert witnesses. They can cost up to $1000/hour.
  17. Medical negligence can happen during the diagnosis, during the treatment, or advice for treatment after an illness.
  18. The majority of malpractice cases are because of misdiagnosis of an illness.
  19. Some malpractice cases are a result of sexual misconduct by the attending physician.
  20. Malpractice can also happen in patients who do not give informed consent. If a patient does not receive proper notification of all risks present in a procedure, he might have a case if something severe happens as a result.
  21. One out of every three patients will be a victim of an error during a hospital stay.
  22. Many lawyers like to deal directly with the patient before they obtain legal counsel so they can settle for less money.
  23. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must disclose all evidence before there is a trial. Sometimes an agreement can be made before a trial, and the suit may settle out of court.
  24. If the case does go to trial, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff.  The plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the standard of care for that particular instance and region and then also show the defendant’s care caused substantial injury.
  25. In the event of a trial, the case is decided by either the judge or a jury. Many times the losing party appeals the decision and prolongs the lawsuit even further.

As with any injury, the best advice to give is to consult an attorney. A legal professional will have the best chance of telling you if you have a case of malpractice or not.