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What is Medical Malpractice?

Steve Wagner

Medical malpractice occurs when a care provider accidentally, negligently or intentionally subverts what is defined as the standard of care for a patient. If medical personnel mistreats, misdiagnoses, or incorrectly prescribes medication, all of these instances could be defined as malpractice.

In the United States, there is one payout for a medical malpractice claim every 43 minutes (that amounts to an average of 12,142 per year). 31% of those claims are made in response to medical negligence that resulted in the wrongful death of a patient. 19% of patients who received compensation suffered from significant permanent injuries, 18% suffered major permanent injuries, 12% suffered from quadriplegia, brain damage or other injuries that will require lifelong care. 8% of people who received compensation suffered from minor permanent injuries, 7% suffered major temporary injuries, 3% suffered from minor temporary injuries, 1% suffered emotional injuries, and .4% suffered from what was defined as an insignificant injury.

The majority of malpractice claims were formed around alleged misdiagnoses on the part of the doctors. Other claims were made because of surgical errors, negligence in treatment, obstetrics complications and unnecessary interventions that caused further complications, medication reactions and complications, monitoring issues or failure to monitor, or anesthesia complications and reactions.

Who Suffers from Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can happen to anyone. It only takes a simple slip-up on the part of a doctor to cause what can be a catastrophic event for any patient. Statistics show, however, that medical malpractice may fall heavier on the female population than the male population. Recent studies have shown that medical malpractice plaintiffs were 60% female, and their median age was 38. Around 20% of medical malpractice claims were filed on behalf of newborns, and 12% were filed by persons age 65 and older.

Surgical procedures that resulted in medical malpractice lawsuits were largely inpatient (45%), but a significant percentage of procedures were also outpatient (41%). The remaining 9% of procedures were a mix of both inpatient and outpatient.

How Much Is My Case Worth?
According to the most recent information available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the medical malpractice lawsuits that went beyond tort jury trials and were taken to state courts were awarded an average of $400,000 per case.

The American Medical Association provides a comprehensive list of medical malpractice award caps by state. The most recent legislation for Indiana allows medical malpractice lawsuits to award up to $1.25 million, excluding wrongful death cases, in which, the amount may exceed that cap.

Why are Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Important?
Doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel must be held accountable for their actions. We so often read stories of doctors behaving negligently, and at times, knowingly causing harm to a patient if it meant it was easier or somehow provided the doctor with a financial benefit. We read of doctors who take bribes or incentives from pharmaceutical companies, and we read horror stories of catastrophic surgical errors that happen as a result of simple chart mix-ups.

If the workers in the medical field are not on their toes and alert at all times, lives are in danger. Medical malpractice lawsuits help keep those in the medical field responsible for their actions. Without these suits, doctors, nurses and medical staff would be “off the hook” for so many mistakes they have made, and it could even encourage apathy in the medical field if there are no known consequences for mistakes.

Should I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you have suffered an injury as the result of the action of someone in the medical field, you may be eligible to receive compensation to assist with your recovery. If your injury occurred within the past two years, you are still within the statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Hesitation is unwise in these cases, because the further away you get from the incident, the harder it can be to prove injury or negligence. As soon as you discover the repercussions of the incident, you should contact a lawyer.

Will Any Type of Lawyer Be Able to Assist?
While the basic answer to this question is “yes”, the honest answer is that only a trained medical malpractice lawyer will be able to fight your case well and get you the compensation you deserve. It takes an expertise of the medical field, as well as knowledge of medical malpractice law, to fight these cases and win proper compensation for clients. Without this knowledge, the insurance companies and large medical corporations won’t have much difficulty preventing your case from going to trial or even having your case denied completely. The Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Wagner Reese have decades of experience in the medical malpractice field, and we have a history of securing high sums of compensation for our clients, no matter the type of malpractice injury you were subjected to.

If you are not sure whether we can assist you or not, let us help you decide. We offer absolutely free consultation sessions to any potential clients, in order to determine the type of case you need to file, assess the amount of evidence you have, and help you determine the right path for you to take. Give us a call today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your Indiana medical malpractice consultation and get on the road to recovery.


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