Have you ever thought about medical malpractice? Maybe you’ve questioned what it is, or even you’ve wondered how many medical malpractice cases there are per year.
Believe it or not, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Despite this fact, cases based on medical malpractice or negligence are not as common as you might think.
Below, we’ll investigate 10 important things you need to know about malpractice cases.
1. What Is Medical Malpractice?
Any act committed by a physician (or other healthcare provider) during treatment which causes injury or damages is medical malpractice.
2. How Do I Know If I’ve Been a Victim of Malpractice?
If you find yourself questioning whether you or someone you know may have been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence, there are several ways to tell.
- Sustaining injuries or damages during medical treatment
- If your medical provider admits to making a mistake or being negligent while you have been in their care
- If a current medical provider informs you that a past medical provider has been negligent
Typically, when a medical provider admits to negligence, it’s in the hopes of preventing additional claims or to pursue the opportunity to settle out-of-court.
3. Who Is at Fault?
In malpractice cases, there are many different parties who may be at fault. Despite what you may think, it’s not only your doctor who could be to blame. These cases come in all shapes and sizes and can stem from mistreatment and negligence within any section of the healthcare industry.
For example, if negligence occurs during a patient’s treatment there, the hospital is at fault.
4. Are Some Cases More Common Than Others?
Generally, when it comes to malpractice cases, there are two specific types which are most prevalent. Below, we’ll go into additional detail on each.
1. Diagnostic errors involve the misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis of an illness.
2. Medication errors are errors made regarding a patient’s medication. It could be an incorrect prescription, dosage, or the interaction one drug has with another the patient was already taking.
If you need advice regarding who to hold accountable for medication errors, we recommend taking a look at this post on our blog.
5. What Steps Should I Take?
If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim or medical malpractice, the first step to take is to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Preferably an attorney with a vast amount of experience with medical malpractice cases, as they will likely have a higher rate of success.
Once you’ve scheduled a consultation, review any necessary paperwork and files as they pertain to your case. After a thorough examination, your attorney will be able to advise whether or not your case is actionable.
6. Is There a Statute of Limitations for Malpractice Cases?
Put simply, a statute of limitations is the deadline for which you must file a lawsuit or tort. As you might imagine, each state has different rules and regulations regarding the statute of limitations for the malpractice cases filed within them. The attorney will be able to provide information on the statute of limitations within their state.
7. Is There a Cap on How Much Compensation I Can Receive?
Much like the statute of limitations, the amount of compensation you can receive for malpractice cases varies by state. For instance, in California, non-economic damages (such as those for pain and suffering) are capped at $250,000.
8. Who Will Pay for the Case?
In most malpractice cases, the attorney deducts their fees from the payout. This is commonly referred to as a contingency fee. Just as it sounds, the attorney takes a fee (usually in the form of a percentage) from the total payout, provided that the case is a win.
Such fees can range from 33 to 40% of the total.
9. How Long Does a Case or Trial Typically Last?
It’s hard to say. How long a case or trial typically lasts is directly correlated to how complex it is. Depending upon the specific case, it could last from a few months anywhere to a few years. Trials, on the other hand, won’t last quite as long. A trial can last as little as a few days, or it could last up to a few weeks.
As mentioned previously, it all depends on each particular case.
10. How Can I Avoid Medical Malpractice?
Avoiding medical malpractice in its entirety is impossible. Much like many other areas in life, there is always a certain amount of risk involved in any course of medical treatment. As such, it’s in your best interest to use common sense and prepare for your treatment to the best of your ability.
While it’s not possible to avoid all risks, it is possible to mitigate some of them. Here are a few ways you might go about reducing the risk of malpractice:
- Be proactive about your health
- Don’t wait to go see your physician
- Always seek information out
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – No matter what they are!
- Stand up and advocate for yourself and those you love
- Bring a friend (or family member) for the purposes of both support and documentation
Focusing on the above will help to ensure you are better prepared for any future courses of medical treatment.
Are You Looking for More Information?
If you would like more information specific to malpractice cases, you’ve come to the right place. We are nationally rated and have five offices throughout New York.
We know just how important the medical malpractice lawyer you choose to represent yourself is, and we strive to be the best we possibly can. We specialize in many different types of medical malpractice, personal/birth injury, and cancer misdiagnosis cases.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to read through our FAQ page or ask one of our attorneys directly. We’re here to help you find the relief you’ve been waiting for.