Most physicians will face at least one (or more) malpractice lawsuits during their career. While they are common, they are not excusable by any means. Most of these malpractice claims could have been prevented simply by understanding the facts and better communication between healthcare professionals and their patients.
Facts About Medical Malpractice Everyone Should Know
There are some facts about medical malpractice that healthcare professionals, doctors, hospital administrators and even patients should be aware of, including:
The number of medical malpractice payments made for physicians has decreased over the last 10 years – going from 15,230 in 2003 to 9,677 in 2013.
A survey released recently by Meritt Hawkins found that the number of malpractice claims in an area was among the top nine things new medical residents consider when deciding where they want to practice medicine.
There were 154,621 medical malpractice payments made between 2004 and 2014 in the United States. New York had the highest number of payments in that period with 21,359 while California was the second highest at 15,964.
Male physicians were 2.5 times more likely compared to female physicians to face a malpractice claim during their career. The study examined the association between a physician’s gender and medical/legal action. During their review of 32 separate reports, 27 male physicians were more likely to experience legal action than female physicians in the same area.
Almost half of physicians (about 43.8 percent) say that they have been threatened with legal action for malpractice in the past. Thirty-two percent also stated that they have been a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Also, 44.6 percent stated that they have ordered tests and medical procedures that weren’t medically necessary just to avoid a potential lawsuit for malpractice in the future.
Physicians often pay up to $7,000 annually in medical malpractice insurance premiums. It is estimated that 45.4 percent pay $7,000 per year while 5.1 percent of physicians pay more than $20,000 per year.
Malpractice payments also correlate with a physician’s specialty. According to another study, physicians that deal with high-risk patients (about 88 percent) report having malpractice claims by the time they are 45 years old.
Patients that are dissatisfied with treatment or outcomes will often feel compelled to file a lawsuit. The four reasons patients file lawsuits include a desire to prevent future outcomes for other patients, need for explanation as to why the injury occurred, a desire for financial compensation or a desire to hold healthcare professionals accountable for their actions.
There is a widespread inconsistency with medical malpractice settlements in the United States and most include non-disclosure agreements – making it more difficult to pinpoint how much the average settlement can be.
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to provide new protections for healthcare professionals against malpractice lawsuits. This provision stipulates that providers, lawyers and patients are barred from using federal standards and scores to prove negligence.
If you were injured by a medical professional, hospital or other health care professional, you need to contact an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.