Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical practitioner inadvertently harms their patients. Although state rules regarding medical malpractice claims vary, some principles and broad categories of rules apply to most cases. 

Below are some statistics on medical malpractice.  

Medical Malpractice Statistics

Medical malpractice is a safety hazard in the U.S. that results in thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Here are a few facts to keep in mind, provided by the Medical Malpractice Center:

  • Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • There are approximately 100,000 deaths every year in the U.S. as a result of misdiagnosis.
  • Preventable mistakes during surgery result in approximately 200,000 deaths each year.
  • Almost every medical doctor will face a lawsuit sometime during their medical career.
  • Malpractice results in stress for doctors, often leading to early-career burn-out and depression. 
  • Medical negligence can occur during diagnosis, treatment, or when your surgeon gives you postoperative advice.
  • One out of every three patients will be a victim of medical error during their hospital stay. 

Continue reading to learn about the most common types of medical malpractice. 

Common Medical Errors

A variety of situations can lead to a medical malpractice error, from a surgeon leaving a sponge inside a patient during an operation to failing to inform a patient about a medication’s side effects. Most medical malpractice claims fall into one of the following categories:

Improper treatment: If a doctor treats a patient in a way that no other licensed professional would, they may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, it may also be malpractice if a doctor uses adequate treatment, but administers it negligently. 

Failure to diagnose: If a different doctor discovered the patient’s ailment and made a different diagnosis, then the patient may have a viable medical malpractice case—particularly if the other doctor’s diagnosis would have resulted in a better outcome. 

Failure to warn a patient of risks: A doctor has the duty of care to inform patients of the associated risks of a procedure or treatment, known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient would have elected not to go through with the procedure once they were informed of the risks, the doctor may be held liable for medical negligence if the patient experiences injuries.  

The Statute of Limitations

Every state has a set of rules and procedures for medical malpractice claims. For instance, you must file a claim quickly, usually between six months and two years, depending on the state. This period is called the statute of limitations; if you don’t file the lawsuit within the specified time frame, the court will dismiss your case, regardless of the facts. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years in Utah. 

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help

Surviving a medical malpractice experience can be traumatizing, and you deserve compensation at a minimum. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help you pursue a personal injury case to ensure you receive damages. Schedule your free case evaluation today.