Medical negligence ranks as the third leading cause of death in the United State—following heart disease and cancer.
To most people, this statistic surely comes as a surprise. Most of us want to believe that, when we are at our doctor’s office, in the hospital, or having a medical procedure done, we are being well taken care of. In fact, this belief may be less than accurate.
A few more statistics regarding medical malpractice cases may also surprise you, such as:
- The majority of plaintiffs who file medical malpractice suits are female, with an average age of 38, 12% are over the age of 65, and about 20% are newborns.
- OB-GYNs are the defendants in nearly 20% of all medical malpractice lawsuits; general surgeons and primary care physicians follow closely.
- The average jury award in a medical malpractice suit is nearly twice that of the average settlement negotiated outside the courtroom.
- Surgical errors account for a little over a third of medical malpractice claims for inpatient incidents, while for outpatient incidents, errors in diagnosis make up nearly half of all malpractice claims.
- Unfortunately, the patient who files a medical malpractice suit is unlikely to get any type of quick resolution. Most injured patients wait approximately a year or more prior to filing the lawsuit, then, once filed, the case will take an average of two years and three months to reach a resolution.
- The top five states for medical malpractice settlements are: New York, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey, and Florida.
- Regarding the severity of injuries in medical malpractice claims, death accounts for 19% of the total claims filed, significant permanent injury for 19%, major permanent injury for 18%, and quadriplegic, brain damage or lifelong care in 12% of the cases. The remainder of medical malpractice claims are for minor permanent injury, major temporary injury, minor temporary injury, and emotional injury only.
What is the Definition of Medical Malpractice?
When a healthcare provider deviates in any way from the recognized standard of care while treating a patient, medical malpractice may have occurred. Standard of care refers to what a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would have done under similar circumstances. If the standard of care was breached, and injury or damages to the patient resulted, medical negligence has taken place and a medical malpractice case may be warranted.
Don’t Overlook the Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations are the time limits plaintiffs have in which to file a lawsuit. The statutes vary from state to state, as well as for different types of lawsuits. In the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is generally two years. The statute begins at the point the patient discovers–or should have discovered–the injury. The Statute of Limitations for minors is generally until age 20.
Avoiding a Medical Malpractice Case
If you have not yet experienced medical malpractice, perhaps the best way to avoid being a victim of such negligence is to be proactive in your own healthcare. Take the time to research your health condition, and thoroughly document your symptoms, treatments and medications. Ask your doctor or other healthcare provider questions, and don’t leave until you have an answer that you fully understand. If you aren’t getting satisfactory answers, take a trusted friend or family member with you as an advocate. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion, and, if you feel your medical care is lacking, find a new doctor.
If you believe you have suffered an injury due to medical negligence, it is important to contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney who will thoroughly review the facts of your case then clearly lay out your options. Your medical malpractice attorney will secure your medical records, conduct interviews, and find out whether your healthcare provider has other negligent actions in his or her background. Medical malpractice cases can be complex, therefore having a knowledgeable, compassionate attorney advocating for your health and your future can make all the difference.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pennsylvania & New Jersey
If you or someone you love has been injured and you believe your doctor or healthcare professional acted negligently or carelessly, the medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 68 years of experience representing patients and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton counties. We are also proud to serve injured patients throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today at 215-568-1510 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.