Medical malpractice accidents can have very serious implications for the lives of victims. A single wrong prescription or surgical error can cost thousands of dollars for a victim, or in the worst cases, the victim’s own life. It is important for patients to be aware of medical malpractice statistics before choosing a doctor or deciding upon a surgeon for an important procedure.
If one also suspects that he or she has suffered from an accident involving medical malpractice, then it is important that he or she acknowledge this feeling and not ignore it. There are far too many people who suffer from medical malpractice every year. It is likely that you may have a cause of action for medical malpractice and may be able to recover damages if you suspect that a doctor has erred in your case.
Jury Statistics for Medical Malpractice Cases in the United States
In 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that a jury was involved in the decision-making process for 99 percent of trials involving medical malpractice. The jury had the ultimate say as to whether a plaintiff was able to recover damages for the injuries that he or she suffered in these cases. The BJS also reports that only 2,449 medical malpractice cases were actually brought to trial in 2005. Plaintiffs won about 25 percent of these cases.
For the plaintiffs who won their cases, the payout was substantial. The BJS also states that plaintiffs were able to recover at least $400,000 in jury trials held in 2005. This amount is at least 17 times greater than the average award given in a tort case.
If you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, then you should be aware that it may still be possible for you to file a lawsuit and stand up for the rights of your loved one. About two-fifths of all cases involving a recovery of over $400,000 were wrongful death actions.
This means that loved ones were asserting the rights of a family member who died as the result of negligence in a surgery, failure to diagnose an illness, prescription error or other reason. You should make sure that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible if your are considering a wrongful death action because there may be a statute of limitations that applies to your case.
Frequency of Medical Malpractice Accidents in the United States
In the United States, it is estimated that there are many more cases of medical malpractice that occur than ultimately involve a trial. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has discovered that there were over 181,000 injuries that occurred and could be connected to medical malpractice in 2003. The safety of patients has never been more at risk in the United States’ healthcare system, and it is vital that patients understand the risks of receiving medical help.
Some of the following leading causes of death also frequently involve medical negligence. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has provided a recent research study that indicates the leading causes of death in the United States. These leading causes of death include:
- Heart Disease (652,091)
- Cancer (559,312)
- Stroke (143,579)
- Respiratory Illness (130,933)
- Accidents (117,809)
- Diabetes (75,119)
- Alzheimer’s Disease (71,599)
- Influenza (63,001)
- Nephrosis (43,901)
- Septicemia (34,136)
In 2003, there were also over 98,000 preventable medical errors that were likely associated with patients who had one of these illnesses or injuries. Patients in the American healthcare system deserve to receive the best medical treatment possible, but it is clear that hospitals are failing to deliver this care. The public remains unaware of the factors that can contribute to preventable medical errors in hospital settings. These factors include the following:
- Lack of adequate staffing for a hospital
- Poorly-trained nursing staff
- Fatigue or exhaustion of doctors, surgeons and staff
- Lack of adequate medical supplies
- Failure to purchase necessary medical equipment
- Failure to repair broken medical equipment
These troubling statistics reveal that the American public needs to be more aware of the care that they receive in medical settings. It is important for the public to begin considering how they may hold hospitals accountable for poor treatment through medical malpractice actions.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Accident Statistics
In Illinois, incidents of medical malpractice have been consistently high since 2000. The problem is that fewer Illinois residents are asserting their legal rights in medical malpractice actions. In 2000 to 2003, there were more people who filed medical malpractice lawsuits than in 2009 to 2011. For 2000 to 2003, statistics in regards to medical malpractice were as follows:
- 464 cases of medical malpractice were reported
- Plaintiffs recovered damages in 182 of those cases
- 17 cases involved verdicts with damages of $10 million or more
- Individuals who received more than $10 million in damages comprised about 10 percent of the total pool for successful plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases
For 2009 to 2011, statistics in regards to medical malpractice were as follows:
- 382 cases of medical malpractice were reported
- Plaintiffs recovered damages in 112 of those cases
- 7 cases involved verdicts with damages of $10 million or more
- Individuals who received more than $10 million in damages comprised about six percent of the total pool for successful plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, then it is important to realize that you may be entitled to a recovery that involves thousands or even millions of dollars in damages. Personal injury attorneys in Illinois can help estimate the amount that your claim may be worth so that you are aware of your legal rights.
Average Insurance Claim for Medical Malpractice
In Illinois, there are certain areas of medicine that tend to have significant total payouts. The Illinois Department of Insurance has released a study in regards to medical malpractice statistics in the state. The study indicates that the following payouts were made in these areas of medicine for 2005 to 2008:
- Surgery: $203,572,109
- Gynecology and Obstetrics: $148,552,053
- Internal Medicine: $76,650,828
- General Practitioners: $63,957,474
- Anesthesiology: $46,662,496
- Cardiovascular Disease: $23,140,818
- Emergency Medicine: $39,097,484
These statistics show that there is not just one particular area of medicine that involves medical malpractice claims. A patient can be harmed by a doctor’s negligence in a variety of medical settings and areas of medicine. It is important for patients to realize that they can be susceptible to the negligence of doctors at any point during their course of treatment.
Whether one is going to a doctor for a simple check-up or receiving an invasive operation, it is possible for one to become the victim of medical malpractice. Because of the far-reaching nature of medical malpractice claims, it is important for individuals to assert their legal rights in medical malpractice actions or seek the help of personal injury lawyers when necessary.
Types of Injuries Associated with Medical Malpractice
Patients can suffer in a variety of ways when a doctor or staff member is negligent in the course of treatment. Some of the injuries that a patient may suffer as the result of medical malpractice are:
- Failure to detect of serious illnesses like cancer
- Internal bleeding
- Depression and anxiety
- Damage to the wrong part of the body during a surgery
- Birth injuries during a delivery
- In the worst cases, premature death
If you or a loved one has suffered after receiving treatment from a doctor, then you may want to get in touch with a medical negligence lawyer in Illinois. You can learn more about your potential medical malpractice claim and how to proceed with the claim. The major hurdle of dealing with a medical malpractice claim frequently entails negotiating with insurance companies. A lawyer is well-equipped and has experience in negotiating with insurance companies and can ensure that you do not accept a payout that is too low for the injuries that you have suffered from medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Statistics for 2011
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, statistics show that the number of medical malpractice cases being filed in the United States is only increasing every year. In 2011, there were over 12,000 payouts made for medical malpractice. The majority of claims were settled outside of court. Statistics show that over 93 percent of payouts resulted from settlements in 2011.
Medical malpractice can not continue to go unacknowledged in the United States. In 2011, over 31 percent of medical malpractice claims involved the death of a loved one. Over 19 percent of medical malpractice claims involved a serious permanent injury to a loved one.
To Err Is Human, Medical Errors Do Occur With Regularity At Some Of The Best Facilities
It is clear that members of the public must continue to assert their legal rights when they do not receive adequate treatment in the healthcare system. Get in touch with medical malpractice lawyers in Illinois today to learn about your legal options. You may be entitled to receive a settlement for the injuries that you have suffered from a doctor’s negligence.