If you were injured because of poor medical care, you may have what is called a "medical malpractice" case, which is a type of personal injury lawsuit that involves the healthcare profession. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against a doctor, surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, hospital, and even a dentist or chiropractor.
Medical negligence is extremely common, and many people don't realize how often people are injured at the hands of a carless healthcare provider. While some of these medical errors stem from honest mistakes, such errors can be deadly. Lives can be taken and families can be devastated.
How common is medical malpractice?
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer.
According to a May 2013 article published in Forbes, more than $3 billion was paid out in medical malpractice cases in 2012 – one medical malpractice payout every 43 minutes.
Examples of medical malpractice:
- Anesthesia errors (too much or too little)
- Surgical errors (e.g. operating on the wrong body party)
- Birth injuries
- Pitocin overdose leading to brain damage in infants
- Wrong diagnosis
- Misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose (common with Cancer)
- Emergency room errors
- Poor post-operative care
- Hospital infections
Often when a patient is injured, the doctor or hospital's insurance carrier will try to quickly settle the claim with the patient directly. This is usually an attempt to settle before the full extent of the plaintiff's injuries are known, and before the patient has the opportunity to hire a medical malpractice attorney.
Insurance companies know that patients don't normally understand the true value of their claim, and having the upper hand, insurance companies try to exploit that. But, when a patient hires a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer, their chances of receiving more compensation increase significantly.
If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, your first order of business should be contacting a medical malpractice attorney to find out if your claim is actionable.