5 Things You Should Know About Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases aren’t the most common types of personal injury cases in the U.S. today, but they are crucial for protecting individuals who have been injured in a medical setting. If you believe you might have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands, there are a few things about these cases that you should know:
- Medical malpractice cases can result in big settlements
Data from 2013 shows that medical malpractice lawsuits totaled $3.6 billion that year in settlement payouts — that’s about $3 million paid out every 45 minutes! The average medical malpractice case, when it results in a settlement, tends to have a settlement amount higher than other types of personal injury settlements.
- Medical malpractice lawsuits often involve really, really serious injuries
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), around 225,000 people die every year because of medical mistakes; thousands more end up with permanent and painful injuries. The settlements awarded in medical malpractice cases tend to be so high simply because these injuries tend to be so severe.
- Birth injuries are some of the most common, and also most preventable, medical malpractice cases
Experts estimate that around 50% of all birth injuries could be avoided entirely if the medical staff adequately identifies and plans for possible obstetrical risks before and during birth.
- There are many types of medical malpractice situations, but the majority of these situations won’t justify a personal injury lawsuit
Besides birth injuries, other common types of medical injuries include failure to diagnose a patient correctly, failure to warn a patient of side effects or risks of a drug or treatment, and failure to treat a patient properly. These situations occur very often, but there are very strict guidelines about what really constitutes a medical malpractice case.
- Medical malpractice cases need to show gross negligence on behalf of the doctor or medical professional in charge
It’s easiest to think about the medical field by noting that medicine is referred to as “a practice” (much like the legal industry is called). Doctors “practice” medicine and they don’t always make perfect decisions; this is an accepted fact in the industry. To prove a legitimate case of medical malpractice, you must be able to prove that the doctor was grossly negligent and did not follow reasonable, standard healthcare guidelines.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very expensive and time-consuming, so if you think you may have a case, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for advice.