Most people are shocked when medical malpractice happens to them or someone they know. We expect the healthcare providers we trust with our lives and safety will always take every action to ensure they do no harm. Unfortunately, the reality is that overworked, undertrained, and negligent providers cause injury and illness every day in the United States.
As the most experienced, daring, and successful Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorneys, we’d like to take this opportunity to share some surprising facts and statistics about medical malpractice and medical negligence.
Medical Malpractice Causes Many Unnecessary Deaths Each Year
There is a common misconception that medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the US. This often-quoted statement comes from a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2016 with a questionable sample population and report numbers. Many patients were older, already ill, or had acquired a hospital-related infection that led to their death.
However, medical malpractice is absolutely responsible for a large number of unnecessary injuries, illnesses, and deaths annually in the United States. A recent analysis of reports estimates as many as 22,165 preventable deaths occur in hospitals each year. This does not include situations of malpractice where patients are injured or contract diseases unrelated to their initial condition.
In addition to hospital settings, many people experience episodes of medical malpractice in doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and other facilities. Regardless of where your case happened, you are entitled to secure legal representation to examine your claim and seek justice.
Many Victims Fail to Take Action Against Those Responsible
Although medical malpractice is fairly frequent, the number of claims and lawsuits is very low, making up only 5% of personal injury actions in the U.S. Many people may pass away from their injuries, and their families don’t want to add to their burden by filing a lawsuit. Others may be so overwhelmed by trying to recover from an unexpected injury that they simply don’t have the strength to struggle with an insurance claim.
In other cases, victims may need too long to heal that they miss out on the statute of limitations for their state. The statute requires that you file your case within a certain time frame after you discover the problem. However, many states have enacted additional limitations regarding medical malpractice claims. These are usually written to favor healthcare practitioners, not victims.
For victims of medical malpractice, we believe that failing to get in touch with a lawyer is a big mistake. Medical professionals receive ample training before they can begin practicing, and we do not stand for their negligence.
Most Medical Malpractice Cases Involve a Failure to Diagnose
Medical malpractice can take countless different forms. This can include avoidable birth injuries, prescription errors, or surgical mistakes. However, the most common category of malpractice occurs when a practitioner fails to properly diagnose an illness, injury, or problem.
Failure to diagnose on its own is not necessarily grounds for a lawsuit. However, when it leads to a missed cancer diagnosis, cerebral palsy due to an undiagnosed birth injury, or heart attack, those responsible for overlooking or ignoring your symptoms must be held accountable.
Our duty as malpractice lawyers is to investigate the evidence and present proof that your doctor failed to provide your state’s accepted standard of care for your age, health history, and condition. In other words, we have to demonstrate essential elements that they deviated from the treatment that another doctor would reasonably have provided in a similar situation. We also focus on establishing that their failure to diagnose led to the worsening of your condition.
Other Examples of Medical Malpractice
In addition to a failure to diagnose, patients can suffer medical malpractice in a number of ways. Healthcare providers are often overworked due to long hours and insufficient staff, making them prone to mistakes. Practitioners may also be unfamiliar with equipment, procedures, or diagnostic tests. Finally, unconscious bias can play a powerful role in how a doctor chooses to treat a patient.
Common situations where medical malpractice can be investigated include:
- A doctor fails to run recommended tests that could detect an undiagnosed issue.
- The provider doesn’t review the patient’s medical history and medications closely enough, leading to over- or underdosing.
- A physician prescribes medications that are contraindicated in the patient’s current treatment or illness.
- Technicians or doctors fail to read or interpret test results and scans correctly.
- Overworked staff may be assigned to unfamiliar areas and make mistakes that lead to injury, disease, or death.
- The chaotic environment of an emergency room can lead to mistakes and missed symptoms, putting patients at risk of malpractice.
- Nursing homes with insufficient staff can overlook the symptoms of a stroke or other emergency medical issue.
Your medical malpractice lawyer can examine your situation and help you determine if you’ve experienced a case of negligence or malpractice.
How a Malpractice Attorney Can Help You When You’ve Suffered Harm
If medical malpractice has affected your life, you are far from alone. Hiring an experienced and compassionate attorney with a proven track record of success can allow you to focus on healing. You can turn the legal concerns over to someone with the background, skills, and resources to investigate your circumstances and fight for your rights.
There are four important ways a medical malpractice lawyer can help you with your case:
- Properly valuing your claim: Malpractice cases are often complex and involve estimating future treatment expenses, as well as other damages you and your family will suffer. Your attorney can use their network of doctors, nurses, financial experts, and investigators to develop a fair and appropriate value for your claim.
- Managing paperwork and deadlines: There are critical dates for filing paperwork and legal actions, and missing these could mean you lose your chance to seek compensation. Medical malpractice cases often involve extra documentation, which your attorney can handle on your behalf.
- Dealing with insurance companies: Insurance representatives will fight hard to avoid admitting their client’s liability or paying you a decent settlement. They count on you being unable to negotiate with them skillfully, but an attorney can push back against their underhanded tactics.
- Negotiating the best settlement possible: Each case is unique and has specific challenges when it comes to getting the compensation you need to recover. You could lose thousands of dollars or more in your settlement if you cannot negotiate or take the at-fault parties to court.
Don’t leave your fate to chance. Just because you’ve been harmed or become sick due to a medical provider’s carelessness, it doesn’t mean you have to face the financial consequences that could result from your physical injuries. Hiring a skilled legal advocate can make all the difference in how well you can move on with your life.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Team Today
The Snyder Law Group, LLC, provides highly-accomplished attorneys to serve the needs of victims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. We are a group of talented and dedicated lawyers with a strong background in managing medical malpractice cases and other personal injury matters. Our clients put their trust in us, and we are proud to be there for them whenever they need top-notch legal representation.