What Are Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a personal injury lawsuit filed against a medical professional by the patient. Medical malpractice cases are special because it means that the doctor failed to act competently when performing his or her duties and caused the patient’s injury. For example, a patient may file a medical malpractice claim if the doctor did not take the proper medical action or failed to diagnose a disease.
Who Is Commonly Affected by Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice affects many individuals from children to adults, but some are affected more than others. Here are the groups that file the most medical malpractice claims:
- Females are 60% of medical malpractice cases. The median age is 38 years old.
- Adults over the age of 65 years make up 12% of cases.
- Newborns are approximately one-fifth of cases.
Who Are the Most Common Defendants in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Most defendants in medical malpractice cases are medical professionals like doctors. Although most cases are evenly split and affect all areas in the medical field, the following are the most prevalent:
- Obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) make up 19% of cases
- General surgeons make up 17% of cases
- Primary care physicians make up 16% of cases
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
Medical malpractice lawsuits happen because medical professionals failed to meet their standard of care when treating the plaintiff. Typical mistakes in medical malpractice cases are:
- Missed Diagnosis
- Drug Errors
- Anesthesia Mistakes
- Wrong surgery or Wrong Patient
- The most common are diagnosis errors (46%) and surgery errors (34%).
What Kind of Damages Can Plaintiffs Get?
Damages awards are meant to compensate plaintiffs for their injury and to help pay for any related expenses. Usually, a plaintiff may ask for the following types of damages:
- General Damages: Compensate the plaintiff for costs that are not easily calculated, such as physical and mental pain, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of future earning
- Special Damages: Cover the plaintiff’s measurable monetary losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, or caretaking costs
- Punitive Damages: Are awarded in severe cases where the doctor acted willfully, maliciously, or knew that the injury would occur
Damage award amounts can vary depending on the severity and complexity of a case. Plaintiffs typically either receive damages through settlement agreements or jury awards. The average compensation amount for malpractice lawsuits is $485,000. The average for jury awards and settlements are:
- Jury Awards: $799,000
- Settlement Agreements: $462,000
Should I Get an Attorney for My Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Yes. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex and highly technical. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you through this stressful process, get an appropriate damage award, and represent you in court.
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Last Modified: 04-27-2015 04:50 PM PDT
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