What Are Typical Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Settlements?
When a doctor or other medical professional causes injury to a patient through negligent care, the victim may not know where to turn for help.
Dealing with the aftermath of an injury caused by a negligent doctor can be difficult. Not only do you have to worry about your health, but you also have to deal with the stress of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
At our law firm, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys understand what you're going through and want to help legally.
We have over 25 years of experience helping victims of healthcare malpractice get their lost earnings and the compensation they deserve. We'll work tirelessly on your medical malpractice case so that you can focus on getting better.
Contact our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers today at (888) 424-5757. We'll explain how much your medical malpractice claim is worth and help you present your associated losses to the physician's medical malpractice insurance company.
Medical experts should provide a high level of care to their patients, but all too often, they fall short. When this negligence leads to serious personal injury, the victim may be able to receive compensation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Illinois Healthcare Malpractice Statistics
Medical carelessness is a serious issue in the United States. Every year, thousands of patients are injured due to negligent medical care.
The National Center for State Courts reports that medical malpractice lawsuits account for 3 percent of all civil cases in the United States. It means tens of thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits are filed every year.
The National Practitioner Data Bank reports that, in the decade between 2010 and 2020, there were 521 healthcare malpractice payments made in Illinois. It means that, for every 1 million people living in Illinois, there are 0.62 medical malpractice payments made each year. The national average is 0.22 per million people.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the state has the third-highest rate of medical malpractice lawsuits in the country. In 2019, there were 2,926 medical negligence lawsuits filed in Illinois. Approximately one out of every nine cases in Illinois is a medical negligence lawsuit.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
Most medical malpractice cases end in monetary compensation for financial losses associated with personal injury or wrongful death.
It may include payment for medical bills, lost wages and diminished earning capacity, and the costs of any long-term or permanent disabilities caused by incorrect diagnoses or treatment (or lack thereof).
The most common types of medical malpractice are listed below:
Birth injury is one of the most common types of malpractice claims. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, expectant mothers give birth approximately 4 million times every year in the United States.
When these babies are born with serious injuries, their parents may be eligible for compensation from negligent individuals or institutions.
Operating Room Error
Operating room error is another common type of negligence claim. Medical errors are often referred to as "never events" because they're considered entirely preventable, yet hundreds of patients suffer each year due to these mistakes.
It has been estimated to occur as often as 40 times a week. It includes surgical mistakes such as operating on the wrong patient or limb, incorrectly administering medications, and failing to diagnose a life-threatening condition properly.
According to a 2019 report from the Institute of Medicine, preventable medication errors affect more than 1.5 million Americans each year and contribute to nearly 100,000 deaths.
Many factors can cause this type of negligence. For example, a pharmacist may fill the wrong medication in a prescription bottle or mislabel a syringe. A doctor may also prescribe the incorrect dosage for a patient's weight and age.
Due to recent changes in state legislation, pharmacists are being held responsible for these types of errors.
A third type is a misdiagnosis, which occurs when a doctor fails to give the correct diagnosis. As a result, patients are left with a medical condition that may worsen and lead to permanent issues rather than receiving appropriate treatment.
Failure to Diagnose
It is another type of medical error claim, and it's quite similar to misdiagnosis. However, the difference is that a failure to diagnose occurs when a doctor detects an illness or condition but fails to treat or cure it.
A failure to diagnose can result in further testing due to incorrect results, leading to unnecessary or additional medical care.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse involving medical professionals can result in a medical malpractice claim. Many nursing homes are understaffed, resulting in elderly patients being neglected or not receiving proper care.
It often leads to serious illness or injury, medication errors, and even death. Additionally, faulty medical equipment and the absence of safety measures can lead to falls and assaults.
Medical Device Malfunction
It is one of the most serious health malpractice claims involving a medical device malfunction during surgery. It can result in another surgery to correct the error and increase the recovery time. In some cases, patients may need to have limbs or organs removed.
When medical negligence causes the patient's wrongful death, the family members may file a compensation claim. The claim often arises when a patient dies due to a surgical error, incorrect diagnosis, or medication.
There are many different types of medical malpractice claims, but most involve some form of negligence from a medical professional and may result in wrongful death. In wrongful death cases, families have the right to sue for damages such as economic and non-economic damages.
When Did the Incident Occur?
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the question ''When did the incident occur?'' is not always easy to answer. Several factors, such as the statute of limitations and the date the victim discovers their injuries, can affect when a lawsuit must be filed.
In some cases, the date of the incident may be clear. For example, if you had surgery and it was botched, the surgery date would be the date of the incident.
Common Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
Malpractice can lead to several different lifelong care injuries, including:
- Brain damage and permanent injuries: They are some of the most common types of medical malpractice injuries, making daily life incredibly difficult
- Damaged organs: Kidneys or liver damage may increase the need for patients requiring long-term care
- Internal bleeding: When it's left untreated, this can lead to serious infections that affect multiple parts of the body because of septic shock
- Physical disfigurement: The lasting injury can make it difficult for a patient to function normally in society
- Permanent disabilities: They range from limb loss to paralysis
- Shock or coma: A patient who goes into shock from an allergic reaction may go into a prolonged coma, unable to communicate with those around.
- Infection: This is another typical result of a delay in treatment
- Lack of oxygen can lead to permanent memory issues and cognitive difficulties during surgery
- Amputation: In some cases, doctors may not have been able to save a patient's limb even with proper care
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to the negligence of another party, it's essential to know which types of compensation are available. Healthcare malpractice claims fall under civil law, so you'll need an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney to seek economic and non-economic damages.
Injury Victims May Be Entitled to Compensation Through Medical Malpractice Cases
People who are hurt by medical carelessness may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries.
Damages that victims can receive include:
- Lost income: The loss of future earnings if it's proven that a patient will not be able to regain their earning ability. There may also be money awarded for past income that was lost as a result of the injury. These include; health insurance premiums, future medical expenses not covered by the health insurance, rehabilitation costs, reduced earning capacity, nursing services, and other related expenditures.
- Pain and suffering: An amount of money is awarded for emotional distress, chronic fatigue, physical pain, and inconvenience caused by the injury. The pain may be due to permanent injury, mental suffering, and emotional distress.
- Medical expenses include future medical care and any related travel or accommodations needed to obtain treatment.
When you hire a healthcare malpractice lawyer, they will go over the specifics of your claim to determine what damages you may be entitled to claim. Then, your attorney can file a healthcare malpractice lawsuit on your behalf to seek compensation for your injuries.
Average Medical Malpractice Settlement Awards
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, in 2018, there were 3,061 medical carelessness settlement awards where the average payout amount was one million dollars or more. The average settlement for a medical payment was $385,000, approximately 2% of all med-mal payments that year.
In a report released, the Medical Liability Monitor said that the national average for medical malpractice awards was $327,000 in 2018. That's a 6.4 percent increase from 2017.
The continued escalation of jury awards drives the increase, said Carl E. Hosticka, president of Medical Liability Monitor. "Year after year, studies have shown that physicians are losing the battle in the courtroom.
The reason for this is the escalating awards, which outpaces inflation," Hosticka said. "We predict that 2021 will be another record year of verdicts and medical malpractice settlements."
After reviewing your case, an insurance adjuster may offer you a medical malpractice lawsuit settlement. Still, you should never accept the first offer because it is likely that the insurance carrier is not offering you enough money.
Some of the Highlights of the Report
Many physicians who were sued in 2017 had never been involved in a healthcare malpractice lawsuit before.
Only 2.5 percent of the physicians claimed to have an outside counsel for all malpractice cases. One-third of these cases paid out.
The most significant factor in predicting healthcare malpractice case outcomes was whether or not outside counsel was involved:
- The average number of defendants per case was 2.3.
- Thirty-eight percent of cases were settled before trial, up from 35% in 2017. Sixty-two percent were decided by a jury at trial, while two percent were based on a bench decision and one percent went to arbitration.
- The national median payout was $457,000 and ranged from a low of $100,000 to a high of $8 million.
- The average number of years between the medical malpractice incident and the verdict was 5.6 years; however, 19% of malpractice cases took more than ten years before they were resolved.
- Injury severity scores for all settled malpractice cases averaged 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 15, with an average payment of $484,000.
- The highest proportion of the verdicts (59%) was for the highest injury severity scores (9-15). Nearly one-quarter -- 23 percent -- were for severe injuries, while 19% were for moderate injuries, and 18% of verdicts were for minor injuries.
- The number of physicians who claimed to be insured by an insurance company did not affect the likelihood of a medical malpractice average settlement value or verdict.
- The malpractice insurance companies paid a mean of $422,000 for cases that resulted in a payout.
The settlement for a medical malpractice lawsuit will vary depending on the severity of the injury, the number of damages suffered, and the state in which the lawsuit is filed.
Medical Malpractice Settlement Formula
A medical malpractice case is a claim against a doctor or healthcare provider. The legal theory of the healthcare malpractice lawsuit is that the subject party failed to exercise the standard of care to which they were bound and, through their negligence, caused the injury.
How much is my medical malpractice claim worth? The factors determining how much money (medical malpractice settlement value) you should receive for medical carelessness for your family contain economic, non-economic, and sometimes punitive damages.
You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you navigate the medical malpractice litigation process.
Economic damages are the costs of medical care, loss of earnings (i.e., income), and out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury. Still, they exclude intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
Typical economic damages also include sums for services rendered by family members who have assisted with chores around the house for an injured person or taking care of a child while another parent works.
Economic damages are calculated using both past and future costs. The courts often utilize a life care plan when projecting future economic damages. It is a report that projects future health care costs and other necessary expenses.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium (the right to be intimate with a spouse), and the loss of enjoyment of life. In cases involving severe mental anguish or injury, plaintiffs received more than just their out-of-pocket expenses.
Many states severely limit the award for non-economic damages; the most restrictive conditions provide no compensation for pain and suffering damages.
When establishing healthcare malpractice settlement values, there are many factors to consider that could affect how much compensation is awarded, such as:
- The nature of injury (i.e., medical negligence vs. car accident)
- Lost earnings (past & future)
- The severity of pain and suffering damages
- Loss of life enjoyment (i.e., loss of consortium)
- Pain and suffering damages associated with permanent injury or disfigurement, such as scarring or an amputated limb.
Non-economic damage awards are significantly affected by the jury's personal views about what is "fair."
Seeking Legal Help From a Medical Malpractice Lawyer to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated but are well worth pursuing. Failure to pursue a malpractice lawsuit can leave you, and your family with future medical bills, lost wages and diminished earning capacity, permanent disabilities, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer knows the law and the medical malpractice step-by-step guide on obtaining compensation for you under the law.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we have a team of medical malpractice lawyers with years of experience in medical negligence and wrongful death cases. We have successfully represented clients who have been victims of medical carelessness and neglect.
We will meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and get all the facts.
Our personal injury lawyers are available 24/7. Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 if you have been a victim of medical negligence. We will fight to get you your lost earnings and the compensation you deserve on a contingency fee basis. Contact us today for a free consultation!
Your sensitive or confidential information will be kept safe with us through an attorney-client relationship.