In the world of personal injury lawsuits, medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex and most important to victims and their families. Sadly, there are occasions where people who visit their doctor or enter a hospital have their trust violated by medical professionals who are supposed to give them the care they need and deserve. From surgeries that are botched to a misdiagnosis of cancer, a birth injury and other situations, cases such as these occur on a regular basis. If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, here are five statistics of which you should be aware.
Medical Errors Result in 250,000 Deaths Annually
It may be hard to believe, but experts estimate at least 250,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to medical errors. As a result, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., trailing only heart disease and cancer.
Medical Malpractices Cases Account for Five Percent of Personal Injury Cases
While many people are led to believe medical malpractice cases run rampant across the nation, statistics show only about five percent of all personal injury cases are focused on medical malpractice. Because of this, most victims may actually have a much better chance of winning their cases, since there is no widespread surge of these cases nationwide.
Top Four States for Medical Malpractice Cases
While of course medical malpractice cases can be filed in all 50 states, there are four states where medical malpractice cases are the most common, those being California, Texas, New York, and Florida. When the populations of these four states are combined, it amounts to nearly 108 million people. Within these four states alone, there were almost 130,000 physicians who were accused of medical malpractice, of which 54,000 were required to make payments to victims after being found guilty of medical malpractice.
41% of Patients Believe They Were Subjected to Medical Errors
It may be hard to fathom, but almost one-half of all patients who visit a medical professional state believe they have been the victim of a medical error at some point during their treatment. Within this group, 20% have stated they believe they have also been subjected to prior incidents of medical malpractice. As for the most common reasons people in this group gave for what they believe may have been medical malpractice, the top three were surgical errors, diagnostic errors, and medication errors.
Only One Percent of Medical Errors Become Malpractice Lawsuits
While thousands of people each year in the United States may in fact be the victims of various types of medical errors, statistics show that only about one percent of those errors eventually lead to the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits in U.S. courtrooms. Though many people may suffer medical errors during the course of their treatment, it can be difficult in many cases to prove that medical malpractice did actually take place. Since any successful medical malpractice lawsuit must meet the criteria of breach of duty, causation, duty, and harm to the victim, victims and their attorneys must be very careful in the gathering of evidence and planning legal strategies when such lawsuits are filed.
As is to be expected, seeing these statistics for the first time can be eye-opening. Unfortunately, many experts believe that despite the high numbers of people who die from medical malpractice each year, the actual totals are likely much higher. If you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice, it is best to not sit back and choose to do nothing. Instead, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in these cases.