We hear about malpractice cases all the time, but what percentage of those cases settle? It’s a great question, especially if you’re looking at a malpractice lawsuit for the first time. You want to know how good your chances are of being compensated for your pain and suffering.
Today’s blog answers that question and more about malpractice cases. Keep reading to learn more!
What is malpractice?
While no one is expected to be perfect, there’s a high standard established for medical providers. If a medical provider fails to meet that standard, they could be guilty of negligence or malpractice.
Medical negligence involves a healthcare professional doing something that causes unintentional harm to their patient. Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider knows there is a risk involved with what they’re doing. Still, they fail to take the necessary precautions to ensure their patient’s well-being.
Medical malpractice is a serious offense, and the healthcare provider guilty of that negligence could face criminal liability. However, it isn’t a cut-and-dry process. As per the law, a healthcare provider is innocent until proven guilty.
If you have faced what you believe is medical malpractice at your doctor’s hands, you could be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering. But, you must be able to prove that your doctor was guilty of medical malpractice.
What must be proved in a medical malpractice case?
You must prove three things for a medical malpractice case to be valid: prove the doctor-patient relationship, prove their negligence, and prove that that negligence led to your injuries.
- Prove the doctor-patient relationship. This is easy to do. All you need is paperwork showing that you received medical care from that doctor. Your lawyer can request your patient records from the doctor’s office to complete this step.
- Prove the doctor/defendant’s negligence. This can be difficult to prove. Disliking the doctor’s medical care isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that they are guilty of malpractice. You must prove that the doctor harmed you in a way unbecoming of a competent doctor.
- Prove that negligence led to their injuries. Finally, you must be able to prove that their negligence is what caused your injuries. In most cases, proving that it is “more likely than not” that the doctor caused the harm is sufficient evidence.
This is because there are often other underlying issues that could lead to injury or death. Proving one over the other can sometimes be impossible.
If you cannot prove those three things, you can consult with a malpractice lawyer, but you likely won’t have a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What are the most common malpractice claims?
There are many things involving medical malpractice, but five malpractice claims are the most common.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis – Modern Healthcare reported that 33 percent of the claims they received in recent years have been due to misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses.
- Failure to treat – Not receiving proper treatment is problematic and a violation of standards of care.
Being released from the hospital too soon, not receiving follow-up care instructions, not receiving the proper medical tests, and having your medical history ignored are all warning signs that your doctor failed to treat you according to standards of care.
- Prescription drug errors – Warning signs include being prescribed the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage or a medication you’re allergic to or that negatively interferes with other medications.
A doctor failing to recognize signs of addiction, abuse, or overdose is also a major warning sign, as this is a risk to your health.
- Surgical or procedural errors – This involves performing the wrong surgery, surgery on the wrong person, leaving surgical instruments inside you, having issues with anesthesia, and not following proper protocols during surgery.
- Childbirth injuries – Some childbirth injuries can result from substandard prenatal care, issues during delivery that the doctor doesn’t appropriately respond to, and not performing a C-section when it is medically necessary.
While these types of malpractice are the most common, they are not the only kinds of malpractice. Contact a malpractice lawyer if you think you’re dealing with malpractice but aren’t sure.
How long do most malpractice cases last?
Unfortunately, malpractice cases can take time, whether they end up being a malpractice settlement or go to court. You’re looking at an average of three to five years before your case ends. Finding the right lawyer is the hard part.
Once you’re in good hands, your attorney will likely investigate and review your medical records, hire a medical expert, and file your lawsuit with the courts. You can settle at any point during this process, but it’s not guaranteed. However, settling before you go to court is your best bet.
What percentage of malpractice cases settle?
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that only seven percent of malpractice cases go to trial, meaning that 93 percent of cases settle. This is preferable to going to court since juries favor doctors.
Even in cases with strong evidence of medical malpractice, juries favor doctors enough that they win 50 percent of all cases. Settling outside of court is your best chance to receive the compensation you deserve for your doctor’s malpractice.
How good are your chances of settling? That depends on your individual case. Consulting with a malpractice lawyer is your best option for receiving clear-cut answers to your questions and determining how to move forward.
Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson can help.
Are you looking for a personal injury lawyer to represent your malpractice lawsuit? Flickinger Boulton Gooch & Robson has over 150 years of combined experience, making them ideal for even the most complex cases.
We offer free case evaluations at our Provo and West Jordan offices and would be happy to meet with you to discuss the details of your malpractice claim. Call us at 801.500.4000 or contact us through our website to schedule your free consultation today.