The prevalence of medical malpractice in the United States is a hot topic. It appears all of the talk has the numbers to back it up, at least where money is concerned. In 2017, medical malpractice lawsuits resulted in over $3.9 billion in payouts for the patients affected – $260 million in Florida alone, up 17% from 2016. What is medical malpractice? Just how common is it? How can a personal injury lawyer help you?
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional acts negligently and in a manner that does not meet the standard of care, causing injury, illness, or death to the patient. In order to qualify as medical malpractice, a case must meet the following criteria:
- A medical professional/patient relationship existed, establishing that the medical professional had a duty to provide medical treatment up to the standard of care.
- The medical professional was negligent, i.e., not reasonably skillful and careful to provide care as expected of any reasonable professional.
- The medical professional’s failure to act reasonably in regard to the standard of care led directly to an injury, illness, or the death of the patient.
- The injury inflicted by the medical professional caused damages to the patient.
Patients injured as a result of medical negligence often choose to bring medical malpractice suits against the medical professionals involved. The purpose of a medical malpractice suit is to seek compensation for damages incurred as a result of the injury. These damages may include:
- Additional medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and loss of future income
- Changes to home or lifestyle
Does Medical Malpractice Occur Often?
In the last few years, medical errors were the third-leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer. In fact, over an eight-year period ending in 2016, a study by Johns Hopkins patient safety team found that an average of 250,000 people die every year as the result of medical negligence. Some common forms of medical malpractice in the Jacksonville area include:
- Misdiagnoses, or doctor failure to diagnose illness
- Birth-related injuries
- Operating room errors
- Medication or anesthesia errors
Medical malpractice can apply to more than just doctors and nurses. Anyone providing medical care can be responsible for malpractice – sometimes even hospital administrators and support staff.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help?
An experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers has the knowledge necessary to deal with aggressive insurance companies and lawyers that will be on the hospital’s side – you won’t be pressured to accept a low settlement that does not adequately compensate you for your injuries. A lawyer can analyze your medical records and other documentation and work with trusted medical experts to build an understanding of the negligence that led to your injury.
Harrell & Harrell, P.A. Jacksonville’s most dedicated law firm, with experience in medical malpractice and dedication to our clients. Our goal is to ensure our clients receive a settlement that relieves the emotional and financial burden caused by medical negligence. We pledge to make sure you receive fair treatment as well as fair compensation.
We urge you to contact a medical malpractice attorney before accepting any insurance settlement. Harrell & Harrell can analyze your case and advise you how to proceed. Reach out to our main office at (904) 251-1111, or via our contact form.