Medical malpractice claims the lives of an estimated 225,000 people every year through a combination of surgical errors, incorrect dosage, and wrong diagnosis. It’s the third highest cause of death in the United States, and 1.5 million people are injured because of medication mistakes. Negligence is tragic, but that does not necessarily mean that you have enough to sue the doctor or medical practice. So, first it’s important to understand what medical malpractice is.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice involves an omission or negligent act by a doctor, health care provider, or hospital. The errors or oversights could have involved any number of issues with initial diagnosis (39%), treatment protocols (32%), and medication (19%). Nearly 50% of medical malpractice cases center on practicing surgeons. Nearly half of the mistakes lead to loss of life.
Medical malpractice is serious, and it’s convoluted. At its core, medical malpractice represents a deviation from acceptable practices and procedures, but it’s not always easy to determine how or if that lapse in the “standard of care” happened. Without medical experts and legal advocacy, the average American has little chance of explaining what happened much less making the doctor or hospital take responsibility for what went wrong.
What are the Top 4 Reasons to File a Malpractice Claim?
Ultimately, the reasons to file a medical malpractice are straightforward. They are predicated upon the need to see someone pay or take responsibility for what happened. Here are the four most common reasons to file a lawsuit for negligence:
- Money. You want to be compensated for the injury or error, whether it’s for an injury to a family member or to yourself. The most common form of compensation is via payouts, which account for 96.5% of payments. The total is $3,889,417,950 across all 50 states.
- Prevention. You don’t want the pain and injury to happen to others in the future. When fatal lapses go unreported, it gives a false representation of vital statistics and undermines research effort to mitigate future negligence.
- Accountability. You want someone to pay for what happened. That accountability could involve losing a medical license, but it’s also a matter of transparency.
- Explanation. You want to know how and why this malpractice event could have happened. Whether the negligence involves injury or death, getting answers to what went wrong is a big reason to pursue legal advocacy.
There is no guarantee that the case will uncover what really happened, but you may get closer to the truth. It may be more about the fact that you just can’t bear the thought that the hospital or doctor could make the same error again.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice?
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice puts a time limit on how long you have to bring your lawsuit to court. The statute of limitations varies by state, but it sets an important timeframe for action. In most states, you have about two years to file a medical malpractice claim, but you should check with a lawyer to confirm.
What Do You Need to Have in Order to File a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Only about 2% of medical malpractice events ever lead to a lawsuit, because it’s not enough to know that the doctor or hospital made an error. It must consider basic characteristics.
- Standard of Care: Did the doctor or medical practice deliver a level of care that was consistent with acceptable medical treatment?
- Significant Damages: Did the medical malpractice result in loss of income, significant past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, or disability?
- Negligence: Could the injury or error have happened in any other way? What is the direct causation?
It’s not enough to demonstrate that an error took place. You need to be able to prove how and why the negligence directly correlates to the outcome.
Why Do You Need Help?
Medical malpractice is not an easy thing to prove even in the most straightforward cases. Even when there is clear evidence that an error took place, the doctor or hospital is not required to acknowledge or provide any response. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer is more than just an advisor.
- The lawyer can tell you whether the doctor’s error is enough for a medical malpractice suit.
- The medical malpractice lawyer knows the state laws.
- The lawyer has the experience and resources to build a case, including interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, filing motions, etc.
- The medical malpractice lawyer represents your best interests with the courts, medical providers, and the insurance companies.
What’s the Next Step in Medical Malpractice?
You may know that you need help, but it’s not always easy to take the next step. That’s why Wapner Newman makes the process so easy. When you go in for a free consultation, you’ll learn more about how the process works and how they can help. You’ve got nothing to lose. You may just gain better insight on what happened and what you can do about it. Sign up for a free consultation to learn more.