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How Common Is Medical Malpractice?

When you receive care from a physician, hospital, or other medical provider, you reasonably expect that you will get high-quality care. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, patients are harmed by substandard care. This raises an important question: How common is medical malpractice? Here, our Albany medical malpractice attorneys provide an overview of medical malpractice statistics. 

Shocking Stat: Medical Errors Third Leading Cause Of Death Nationwide

Recent research on medical mistakes is alarming. According to a comprehensive study cited by the National Library of Medicine, medical mistakes are the “third leading cause of death” in the United States. One study found that medical negligence contributes to as many as 251,000 fatalities nationwide each year. To put that number into the proper perspective, that means that only cancer and heart disease are associated with more deaths. 

The Civil Rights Justice Group estimates that somewhere between 0.8 percent and 1.0 percent of hospital patients are victims of medical malpractice. That would put the total number of medical malpractice incidents each year at 300,000 to 360,000 in hospital settings alone. Of course, medical negligence also occurs outside of hospitals, including at primary care offices, clinics run by medical specialists, and dental practices. 

Only A Small Percentage Of Malpractice Victims File A Claim

Notably, the number of medical malpractice claims filed does not show the true extent of the problem. The Civil Rights Justice Group cites a study that found that only 2.9 percent of the patients harmed by medical negligence actually take legal action. If you or your loved one was the victim of medical malpractice in New York, you have the right to file a claim to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. An experienced Albany, NY medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your rights and your options. 

Most Medical Malpractice Claims Are Resolved Outside Of A Trial

As noted previously, most medical malpractice victims do not even file a claim at all. When a claim is filed, it is relatively rare that the case will go through a full trial. According to federal data, only around 1 percent of all medical malpractice claims are resolved through a verdict. In other words, the majority of medical malpractice claims are settled by the parties. This is similar to other types of personal injury lawsuits. While any specific medical malpractice case could go to trial, the reality is that most claims reach a settlement at an earlier stage in the process. 

Most Common Examples Of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice comes in a wide range of different forms. You may have been the victim of malpractice if you suffered actual physical harm as a consequence of receiving substandard care from a doctor or medical provider.  Here are four of the most common examples of medical malpractice: 

  • Delayed Diagnosis/Misdiagnosis: You deserve an accurate, timely diagnosis. A doctor who negligently fails to properly diagnose a serious medical condition is preventing you from receiving proper care. 
  • Surgical Mistakes: A surgical mistake can cause severe harm to a patient. If you were the victim of a surgical error—whether preoperative or postoperative—you should consult with an attorney. 
  • Medication Errors: Prescription drugs are powerful. They must be administered properly, in the correct dosage. A medication error can cause serious medical complications, including allergic reactions. 
  • Anesthesiologist Errors: When medical professionals administer too much or too little anesthesia it can cause serious problems for a patient. Anesthesiologists must take extreme care to perform their job properly. If you or your loved one was injured due to an anesthesia error, you may have a medical malpractice claim. 

Ultimately, every medical malpractice claim is unique. These are notoriously complicated legal cases that involve highly specialized procedures. If you suspect that you or your family member was the victim of medical malpractice, it is imperative that your case is comprehensively investigated by a skilled attorney.  

Call Our Albany, NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York medical malpractice attorneys have the professional skills and legal expertise that you can count on. We know how to hold negligent doctors and big insurance companies accountable. Do not wait to get started with your medical malpractice case. If you have any questions about medical malpractice, we are here to help. Contact us today for a no cost, no obligation review of your case. We have offices in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester and we handle medical negligence claims throughout New York.

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