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Medical Malpractice Claims – Facts v. Myths

October 3, 2023

The latest figures show that personal injury filings in the U.S. skyrocketed 97% from the previous year. However, just 4% of over 400,000 personal injury cases go to trial each year, with the rest settling before that stage. Even so, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind only heart disease and cancer.

There are several ways medical malpractice can happen, such as in surgery, through misdiagnosis, medication mistakes, poor health management, premature discharge, failure to order the proper tests, and other. Medical malpractice happens when a health care provider causes injury to a patient through an act of medical negligence or omission.

It’s a complex area of personal injury law, and it’s no surprise that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding it. Here are some of the most common medical malpractice myths and the facts.

Myth #1: Medical Malpractice Claims are Bogus and Increase Our Healthcare Costs

Contrary to what may be portrayed in the media or on TV, medical malpractice claims aren’t frivolous actions filed by greedy plaintiffs. Research has shown that only a small percentage of medical errors result in malpractice claims, and furthermore, medical malpractice costs account for less than 3% of overall healthcare spending in the United States. This myth is often perpetuated by individuals and groups that want to limit the rights of injured patients and their access to justice.

Myth #2: Medical Malpractice Claims Are Impossible to Win

Medical malpractice cases are very hard to prove, and many patients who’ve been injured by medical negligence can’t get the compensation they deserve. To win a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must establish that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care and that this breach directly caused their injury. These cases frequently require expert witness testimony and a comprehensive understanding of medical procedures and terminology. As a consequence, the success rate for medical malpractice claims is much lower than for other types of personal injury cases, but they are not impossible to win. Medical malpractice cases require a very specialized team of attorneys and specialists in order to be successful.

Myth #3: If You Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim, a Healthcare Provider Will Retaliate 

Many patients are reluctant to file medical malpractice lawsuits because they are worried they’ll be “blacklisted” by healthcare providers or experience retaliation from their doctors. But that’s not the case. Healthcare professionals are legally and ethically obligated to give care to their patients, no matter if they’ve filed a malpractice claim. Moreover, healthcare professionals are legally prohibited from retaliating against patients who exercise their legal rights.

Myth #4: Medical Malpractice Claims Result in Ridiculously High Payouts

It’s true that some medical malpractice cases result in large settlements or jury awards, but these are the exception not the rule. The average medical malpractice settlement in 2018 was $348,065 –far from the multi-million dollar payouts often seen in the media. As a result, you should remember that medical malpractice victims often face significant medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing pain and suffering; these awards are designed to give them the financial support they need to rebuild their lives.

Myth #5: Medical Malpractice Claims Are Filed Only Against Physicians

Physicians are frequently the defendants in medical malpractice cases. However, they aren’t the only healthcare professionals who can be held accountable for medical negligence. Nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare providers can also be sued for malpractice if they breach the standard of care and cause injury. In addition, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities can also be held liable for the actions of their employees.

SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED MICHIGAN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY

It’s no myth that you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have the best chance of a successful outcome in your case.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today.