Medical malpractice lawsuits have been an issue discussed and argued over by politicians all over the country for many years. On one side of the argument is the group that believes that medical malpractice lawsuits are a scourge on the profession and that they are negatively affecting costs and the quality of care. The other side of the issue is the group that believes that doctors and other medical professionals should be held accountable for the harm that they inflict on patients based on their negligence. This argument seems unlikely to die down anytime soon.
Everyday people may hear these arguments and wonder why they become so heated. Others may look for some context so that they can put together a more informed opinion. As is seemingly always the case with these types of arguments, many of the so-called facts that are used to bolster one side of the argument or the other are skewed or in some cases inaccurate. Below you will find 5 facts regarding medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States that may be somewhat surprising to those who do not work in this field every day.
- The Majority of Physicians Are Sued At Least Once
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), more than 60 percent of doctors who are over the age of 55 have been sued for medical malpractice at least once during their careers. That represents approximately 25 years in practice for most.
- Diagnostic Mistakes are the Leading Causes of Lawsuits
The AMA also states that failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis or improper diagnosis are the leading reasons for the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits. These mistakes are relevant in as many as 20 percent of the cases filed.
- OBGYNs and Surgeons are the Most Likely Specialties to be Sued
The AMA also has stated that approximately 70 percent of the doctors in these specialties have been sued and nearly half of them have been sued more than once. That makes some sense considering the risks involved with these practices.
- Most Medical Malpractice Cases Settle
Several sources have come to the same conclusion – the vast majority of medical malpractice lawsuits never make it all the way to verdict. Estimates consistently indicate that more than 90 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are settled out of court.
- New York Pays Out the Most
Finally, statistics reveal that New York is far and away the state that pays out the most in medical malpractice claims. The past few years have seen an average of approximately $700 million per year paid to injured patients.
What all of this should tell you is that doctors being sued is nothing new and that doctors will make mistakes like anyone else. That’s why those who are injured should take steps to protect themselves. If this includes you or someone you love, contact the New York medical malpractice lawyers at Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald today to schedule a free initial consultation.