Awards for med mal are up, but number of claims remain steady
A recent report put together by insurance actuaries finds that awards for victims of medical malpractice are up in recent years, but that the overall number of med mal claims remains fairly steady. According to the report, the average award for the top 50 medical malpractice claims from 2008 through 2011 was $15.2 million. In contrast, from 2016 through 2019, the average cost was $22.9 million. The top practice areas that resulted in med mal claims during this period were claims related to birth injuries, followed by surgery errors and mistakes with diagnosis.
What does this mean for injured patients?
Unfortunately, it may mean patients are suffering more serious injuries. As a result, it is important for those injured by negligent medical practitioners to hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing.
Why should patients hold medical professionals responsible if they cause injury?
Legal remedies are available that serve two broad purposes. First, these remedies provide funds to help the injured patient cover the expenses that result from the poor care. This could include the costs associated with additional medical procedures needed to treat the injury, the bills for medications or needed medical devices, lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
Second, the claim will help to make the medical community a better place. By holding bad actors accountable for their wrongdoing, we not only reduce the likelihood that this particular individual will injury anyone else, but we also hold the medical community as a whole accountable. This helps to deter others from making the same mistakes.
It is also important to note that patients can get injured due to a lack of care. A patient who goes to the doctor and is concerned about a bump or other ailment that could be an indication of a much worse disease, such as cancer, and does not receive adequate care may have a case. This is because the failure of the physician to order tests or otherwise treat the patient is also a grave mistake. The medical community expects its professionals to meet a certain standard of care. This failure could result in a progression of the disease that the physician could have treated, had the doctor made the correct diagnosis when the patient first asked for help.
What should I do if I am injured by a medical professional?
Keep good records. Keep copies of bills and tests as well as notes about any missed work or concerns about the inability to work in the future. This information will be important when building a case. It is also important to note that there is a time limit to these cases. As such, it is a good idea to begin building the case as promptly as possible.