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Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for over 400,000 deaths every year. The contribution of medical error as the cause of death in the United States has been underestimated because medical error is not a category of cause of death that physicians, funeral directors, medical examiners, and coroners use when completing death certificates in the United States.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), 34% of all physicians in the United States have been sued for medical malpractice during their medical careers. Almost half of U.S. physicians who are 55 and older have been sued for medical malpractice, and nearly 30% have been sued two or more times for medical malpractice. By the age of 65, 99% of physicians in high-risk specialties in the United States have been subject to a medical malpractice claim.

The National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”) published medical malpractice statistics for the United States for the period from 2005 to 2015. During that ten-year period, when the population of the United States was 321,986,783, there were 148,909 medical malpractice payments and 409,088 adverse actions reported to the NPDB.

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What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider breaches the standard of care expected of a reasonably competent health care provider under similar circumstances (every state defines medical malpractice differently).

What does Standard of Care mean?

Standard of care can be generally defined as what a reasonably competent health care provider would do under the same or similar circumstances (once again, each state defines standard of care differently).

In general, there must be some harm suffered as a result of the breach of the standard of care in order to receive a recovery (payment) for a claim of medical malpractice.

What are the different types of medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice may occur in many contexts: during pregnancy, during labor and delivery, during diagnosis and treatment of cancer, during office visits to doctors, physical therapists, and other health care providers, in emergency rooms, during hospital stays, during surgery, by radiologists improperly reading and reporting imaging studies, by nursing homes and their staff, by medical clinics, by surgery centers, in VA hospitals, by medical specialists, by pharmacies improperly filling prescriptions, etc. Wherever medical care is involved, negligent medical care and treatment can occur.

What damages may be recovered for medical malpractice?

In general (different states have different laws), medical malpractice victims may seek monetary compensation for economic damages (such as medical bills related to the harm suffered, loss of income or salary, and other monetary losses that can be calculated without engaging in speculation) and noneconomic damages (such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of society and affection, scarring, and other nonmonetary losses). Some states limit recovery to economic damages only. Many states have statutory caps (limits) on the amount of noneconomic damages that may be recovered by medical malpractice victims and their families if the person died from medical malpractice. Therefore, the most seriously injured medical malpractice victims will never receive full and just compensation for their medical malpractice injuries and negligent medical providers will never be held fully accountable for their actions. .

What is tort reform?

In the medical malpractice context, the organized and well-financed health care industry in the United States has convinced many state legislatures that they should be granted special financial benefits at the expense of the people they injure through their medical negligence. Often the health care industry (including hospital groups and physician groups) justified their tort reform efforts by claiming that medical malpractice insurance premiums were increasing too much and that they could no longer  afford the increasing premiums, Doctors groups argued that their members would be forced to leave their medical practices if they were not granted special protection from their patients, such as caps on damages in medical malpractice cases, as discussed above.

Because medical malpractice victims are often random people and are not organized as a group to tell state legislators their stories of loss and grief due to their suffering from medical malpractice, state legislatures heard only one side of the story and decided to protect the wallets of negligent medical providers without considering the serious harm their tort reform initiatives had on the innocent victims of medical malpractice.

The health care industry continues its unrelenting assault on the rights of medical malpractice victims to seek and obtain just compensation for the harms they suffered at the hands of negligent medical providers. The most seriously injured medical malpractice victims are often the most seriously affected victims of medical malpractice tort reforms.

How difficult is it to find a medical malpractice lawyer to help you?

One of the unfortunate results of medical malpractice tort reforms is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find medical malpractice lawyers who are willing and able to investigate medical malpractice claims and represent medical malpractice victims in claims against negligent health care providers — it is just too costly in terms of time and money in light of the potential recovery for their medical malpractice clients.

How can you find a medical malpractice lawyer to talk to?

For almost twenty years, MedicalMalpracticeLawyers.com has been connecting without cost or obligation medical malpractice victims throughout the United States with medical malpractice lawyers near them who may answer their medical malpractice questions, investigate their medical malpractice claims, and represent them in medical malpractice cases, if appropriate. Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.