You may have heard that your physician was sued for medical malpractice, or perhaps you were researching a physician referred to you and noticed that he or she had been previously sued. While a pending or completed medical malpractice lawsuit can cause worry, not all lawsuits mean that you are at-risk for an injury yourself.
Connection Between Settlements and Bad Physician Care
While a physician can be sued for medical errors, that lawsuit is not an exact indication that you will receive substandard medical care yourself. This is because:
- Medical malpractice cases can involve a minor error.
- The claim brought to light a misdiagnosis or misstep in the physician’s care – meaning that he or she is unlikely to commit the same mistake in the future.
- The physician was at-fault in addition to other medical providers – or the physician was held at-fault for the actions of his or her own employees (meaning that the physician did not commit the error him or herself).
The Types of Patients and Cases Treated
Another thing to consider is the physician’s specialty – because certain specialties will receive more malpractice claims than others. High-risk specialties, such as cancer treatment specialists or surgeons, could see a higher number of malpractice suits. Also, physicians who take complicated cases or work with extremely ill patients may have worse outcomes; therefore, these individual may be more prone to lawsuits.
When to Worry
You should be concerned if your physician has a high volume of medical malpractice payouts – for example, if over the last year, your physician has had three settled malpractice claims. If, however, your physician has had only one claim within several years of practice, it is not an indication that you will suffer harm, or that he or she is a bad physician. Also, you may be surprised to find that almost all physicians have encountered a lawsuit in their career.
If you have found that your current physician was sued or is being sued, you should also look at his or her overall grades. Health Grades and associated websites give reviews and feedback from real patients about a physician – and can also give information about any pending board actions against a license. If a physician has complaints with the medical board, suspensions, and multiple lawsuits, then it is time to worry.
If you are ever concerned, inquire about a physician through your state medical board. You can request information about pending actions, multiple lawsuit payouts, etc. Just keep in mind that not all physicians are disciplined by the state medical board for a malpractice lawsuit – which is why it is imperative that you look at all of the facts before deciding a physician’s “risk factor.”
Were You Injured by a Physician’s Error or Substandard Care?
Sometimes, even the best physicians will commit errors – and these errors can lead to serious consequences for the patient. If you or a loved one was injured because of substandard care provided by your physician, then you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Contact a Connecticut medical malpractice attorney right away to have your claim assessed. Berkowitz and Hanna LLC is waiting to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Call us at 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.