Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. A healthcare professional providing substandard care can result in serious injury, illness, or even death. 

Medical malpractice cannot be without consequences. Filing a medical malpractice claim can be a complex and challenging process, but it is essential for victims to seek justice and compensation for their damages. You deserve justice; the healthcare provider must be held accountable for their malpractice. 

This blog will provide a comprehensive overview of how to file a medical malpractice claim, including the steps involved, the evidence required, and the potential outcomes. 

Whether you’re a victim of medical malpractice or just curious about the legal process, this guide will provide valuable information and insights to help you navigate this complex area of law.

Let’s examine the top 10 most common medical malpractice claims. 

Top 10 Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice can take many forms, from surgical errors to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. Certain types of medical malpractice claims are more common than others. But no matter how common or uncommon the malpractice may be, victims of medical negligence often suffer significant physical, emotional, and financial harm. 

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, it is crucial to understand the most common types of claims and how they may apply to your situation. 

This section provides an overview of the top 10 most common medical malpractice claims and what you need to know if you believe you have been a victim of medical negligence.

1. Diagnosis-related errors (33%)

Diagnosis-related errors are the most common type of medical malpractice claims, accounting for 33% of all malpractice claims. These errors occur when a healthcare professional fails to diagnose a patient’s condition properly, misdiagnoses a condition, or delays the diagnosis of a condition.

Sometimes, a healthcare professional may need help to order the proper tests or follow up with a patient to ensure the proper diagnosis.
Several factors can contribute to diagnosis-related errors. One of the main factors is the complexity of modern medicine.

With so many different conditions and diseases, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose every patient accurately. Some conditions have symptoms that mimic other conditions, making it even more challenging to diagnose the correct condition.

Another factor contributing to diagnosis-related errors is the pressure that healthcare professionals pressure to make quick diagnoses. Sometimes, the pressure to quickly diagnose a patient can lead to mistakes.

Communication breakdowns between healthcare professionals can also contribute to diagnosis-related errors. For example, a physician may fail to adequately communicate a patient’s symptoms to a specialist, leading to a misdiagnosis.

When a diagnosis-related error occurs, it can have severe consequences for the patient. The patient may receive the wrong treatment or no treatment at all, which can worsen their condition or even death. The patient may also incur additional medical expenses and lost wages due to the error.

Healthcare professionals must ensure they correctly diagnose their patients to prevent diagnosis-related errors.

This may include ordering the proper tests, taking a thorough medical history, and communicating effectively with other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care. In addition, healthcare professionals must be willing to admit when they have made a mistake and take steps to correct the error.

2. Surgical Errors (23%)

Surgical errors can occur during any surgical procedure and account for nearly one-fourth of all medical malpractice cases. Various factors, including poor communication among medical staff, lack of adequate training, fatigue, and equipment malfunction, can cause these errors.

Some common surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part or patient, leaving surgical instruments or other foreign objects inside the patient’s body, damaging internal organs or nerves, and administering the wrong amount or type of anesthesia.

When a surgical error occurs, it can have serious consequences for the patient. Sometimes, the patient may require additional surgeries to correct the mistake, leading to additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In more severe cases, the patient may suffer permanent injuries, disability, or even death.

Healthcare professionals must be adequately prepared for each surgery to prevent surgical errors. This may include reviewing the patient’s medical history, ordering necessary tests, and communicating effectively with other medical staff involved in the surgery. Medical staff should be appropriately trained on using and maintaining surgical equipment to prevent malfunctions.

During the surgery itself, medical staff should take steps to ensure they are following proper surgical procedures and protocols. This can include counting surgical instruments and sponges before and after surgery to prevent leaving anything inside the patient’s body and double-checking that they are operating on the correct body part and patient.

3. Treatment-related Errors (18%)

Treatment-related errors occur when a healthcare professional fails to provide the appropriate treatment or provides the wrong treatment to a patient.

Various factors, including miscommunication among medical staff, lack of adequate training, and incorrect interpretation of test results can cause these errors.

Some common types of treatment-related errors include medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or administering the medication via the wrong route.

Other types of treatment-related errors include improper use of medical devices or equipment, incorrect application of a medical procedure, and failure to provide necessary follow-up care.

When a treatment-related error occurs, it can have serious consequences for the patient. Depending on the severity of the error, the patient may experience worsened symptoms, additional medical complications, or even death. In addition, the patient may incur other medical expenses and lost wages due to the error.

To prevent treatment-related errors, healthcare professionals must ensure that they provide the appropriate treatment to their patients.

This may include double-checking medication orders before administering medication, using checklists to ensure all necessary steps are taken during a medical procedure, and providing appropriate follow-up care to ensure the patient is recovering properly.

4. Obstetrics-related Errors (10%)

Obstetrics-related errors occur during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or in the postpartum period. Obstetrics-related errors can have severe consequences for both the mother and the baby and can lead to permanent injuries or death.

Some common types of obstetrics-related errors include failure to properly monitor the mother and baby during pregnancy, failure to diagnose or adequately treat maternal or fetal conditions, incorrect use of medical devices during delivery, and failure to perform a timely emergency C-section.

When an obstetrics-related error occurs, it can have serious consequences for the mother and the baby. Sometimes, the mother may experience life-threatening complications such as a hemorrhage or infection.

The baby may suffer from birth injuries like cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy due to lack of oxygen during delivery.
To prevent obstetrics-related errors, healthcare professionals must ensure they provide appropriate care to pregnant women and their babies.

Typical steps include monitoring the mother and baby for any signs of complications, ordering necessary tests, and communicating effectively with other medical staff involved in the patient’s care.

Healthcare professionals must be adequately trained in using and applying medical devices and procedures to prevent errors.

Healthcare professionals must follow proper protocols and procedures during labor and delivery. This may include monitoring the mother and baby’s vital signs, using fetal monitoring devices appropriately, and being prepared to perform an emergency C-section if necessary.

5. Medication and Anesthesia-related Errors (10%)

Medication and anesthesia-related errors occur during the administration of medication or anesthesia to a patient. Various factors, including miscommunication among medical staff, lack of adequate training, and incorrect interpretation of test results can cause these errors.

Medication-related errors can include prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, administering the medication via the wrong route, or providing the medication to the wrong patient.

Anesthesia-related errors can include administering too much or too little anesthesia, administering the wrong type of anesthesia, or failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs during the administration of anesthesia.

To prevent medication and anesthesia-related errors, healthcare professionals must ensure they provide the appropriate medication or anesthesia to their patients.

6. Failure to Monitor or Follow Up (6%)

Failure to monitor or follow up can occur when a healthcare professional fails to properly monitor a patient or follow up with the patient after a medical procedure or treatment.

This can include failure to monitor a patient’s vital signs, order necessary tests, or provide appropriate follow-up care.

To prevent failure to monitor or follow up errors, healthcare professionals must ensure they provide appropriate patient care.

This may include monitoring the patient’s vital signs, ordering necessary tests, and communicating effectively with other medical staff involved in the patient’s care.

Healthcare professionals must follow proper protocols and procedures during post-procedure or post-treatment care. This may include providing appropriate follow-up care, monitoring the patient’s recovery progress, and communicating any necessary information to the patient and their family.

7. Improperly Obtaining Informed Consent (2%)

Improperly obtaining informed consent is a type of medical malpractice that can occur when a healthcare professional fails to get the patient’s informed consent for a medical procedure or treatment.

Informed consent is a process by which the patient is fully informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a medical procedure or treatment and makes an informed decision about whether to proceed with the procedure or treatment. Please obtain informed consent to avoid harm to the patient, as they may not have been fully informed of the risks and alternatives of the procedure or treatment. Patients may also feel that their autonomy and right to make decisions about their healthcare have been violated.

To prevent improperly obtaining informed consent, healthcare professionals must ensure they are providing appropriate information to the patient and obtaining their consent in a fully informed and voluntary manner.

This may include providing information clearly and understandably, allowing the patient to ask questions, and obtaining written consent in some cases.

8. Lack of Proper Training or Supervision (2%)

Lack of proper training or supervision in medical settings is a serious issue that can result in medical errors and harm to patients. Inadequate training or supervision can lead to healthcare professionals needing more skills and knowledge to provide appropriate patient care.

This can result in misdiagnoses, medication, surgical, and other serious medical errors. Additionally, a lack of proper supervision can result in healthcare professionals being held accountable for their actions, which can lead to a culture of negligence and errors. That culture would be deadly to many patients.

To prevent these issues, healthcare organizations must ensure that their staff receives appropriate training and supervision, including ongoing education and training to stay up-to-date with best practices and regulations in their field.

Proper supervision should also be in place to ensure that healthcare professionals are held accountable for their actions and that errors are promptly addressed and corrected to prevent harm to patients.

9. Equipment Failure (1%)

Equipment failure is a common cause of medical malpractice in healthcare settings. Medical equipment is essential for diagnosing and treating patients, and when it fails, patients can suffer serious harm, including injury, illness, or even death.

Equipment failure can occur for various reasons, including faulty design, manufacturing defects, inadequate maintenance, or improper use.
Healthcare professionals have a duty to ensure that the equipment they use is properly maintained and functioning correctly. Equipment not working properly should not be used to test, diagnose, or treat a patient.

When equipment failure occurs, healthcare professionals must take immediate steps to address the issue, such as stopping the use of the equipment, notifying the manufacturer, and notifying the patient and their family.

Patients who have been harmed due to equipment failure in a medical setting may be entitled to compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

10. Delayed Treatment (1%)

Delayed treatment is another cause of medical malpractice in healthcare settings. When a patient seeks medical attention, healthcare professionals have a duty to provide timely and appropriate treatment.

Delayed treatment can occur for various reasons, including misdiagnosis, failure to recognize symptoms, inadequate testing, or delays in referrals or consultations. Delayed treatment can worsen the patient’s condition, leading to serious harm, including disability, chronic illness, or even death.

Patients who have been harmed due to delayed treatment may be entitled to compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To prevent delayed treatment, healthcare professionals must prioritize patient care and ensure they provide timely and appropriate treatment.

As you can see, there are many different ways that healthcare providers can commit malpractice. Even if you aren’t 100% sure that your healthcare provider did anything wrong, it’s a good idea to discuss the details with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering if you were a victim of malpractice. 

This next section covers how to file a malpractice claim. If you think you might be a malpractice victim, this section will give you a good idea of the steps to receive justice. 

How to File a Malpractice Claim?

Filing a medical malpractice claim can be a daunting process. Still, victims of medical negligence need to seek justice and compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to know how to file a malpractice claim. There are eight steps involved in filing. 

  1. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer: The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. They will review your case and help determine if you have a valid claim.
  2. Obtain your medical records: Your medical records are a crucial piece of evidence in a medical malpractice claim. You will need to request copies of your medical records from all healthcare professionals who provided treatment for your injury or illness.
  3. Get an expert opinion: To prove medical malpractice, you will need an expert opinion from a medical professional who practices in the same field as the healthcare professional who caused your injury or illness. Your lawyer can help you find an appropriate expert.
  4. Draft and file your complaint: Your lawyer will draft a complaint that outlines the details of your case and the injuries you suffered due to medical malpractice. The complaint will be filed with the court and served on the defendant(s).
  5. Discovery phase: During the discovery phase, both sides will exchange evidence and information relevant to the case. This may include depositions, interrogatories, and requests for the production of documents.
  6. Negotiation and settlement: Many medical malpractice cases are settled out of court through negotiation. If this is the case for you, your lawyer will negotiate with the defendant(s) and their insurance company to obtain a fair settlement.
  7. Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. Your lawyer will present your case in court and argue on your behalf.
  8. Verdict and appeal: If you win your case, you will receive a verdict and may be awarded damages. 

It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim may vary depending on your location and the circumstances of your case. It’s essential to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Victim of Medical Malpractice? Call Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson Today

Filing a medical malpractice claim can be a complex and challenging process, but it is essential for victims of medical malpractice to seek justice and compensation for their injuries. 

If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice, working with experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel is crucial to ensure that your rights are protected and your case is presented effectively. 

At Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson, our team of skilled medical malpractice lawyers has the expertise and resources to handle even the most complex cases. Contact us by filling out the form on our website or call us at 801.500.4000 to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.