One-in-Four Patients Suffer From Medical Malpractice

As Americans, we are all very fortunate to have access to some of the best healthcare providers in the world. Many countries do not enjoy this luxury. Still, even the most astute medical professionals can make mistakes from time to time. They might make a wrong diagnosis, fail to treat an infection or make another medical error that can cause unnecessary pain and suffering. In extreme cases, the mistake could even lead to the wrongful death of the patient.

According to Public Citizen, a national organization based on of Washington D.C., between 14 and 25 percent or one-in-four patients suffer from injuries or wrongful death as a result of medical malpractice. While these numbers haven’t decreased, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits has declined in recent years.

The organization attributes this to in part changes in state laws. In Pennsylvania, for example, the law requires patients to get certification from an independent doctor before a lawsuit can be filed. Some lawsuits are settled before they ever go to court and others take many years to make it through the legal system which could also contribute to lower number. Of the 1,508 medical malpractice suits filed in Pennsylvania during the 2012 calendar year, there were only 135 jury verdicts.

Those who have been a victim of medical malpractice whether from doctor negligence or a medical error should not be deterred by these statistics. You still have legal rights as a patient. A consultation with a personal injury or wrongful death attorney is a good way to find out if your case has merit. An attorney can guide you through the complexities of medical malpractice lawsuits and fight for the compensation you deserve. Medical professionals have lawyers on their side; you should too.

Source: The Patriot-News, “Medical malpractice lawsuits: data shows a decline; Pennsylvania hospitals argue they remain a problem,” David Wenner, August 9, 2013.

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