Medical Malpractice Update
Medical malpractice occurs when a health-care provider injures a patient with a treatment, a lack of treatment or deviation from the recognized “standard of care.” The “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably-prudent medical provider would (or would not) have done under the same, or similar, circumstances.
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), medical malpractice reports decreased from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. In 2019-2020, the number of medical malpractice reports in the US was more than 20,000, but during the same timespan from 2020-2021, that number fell to 15,030.
Medical malpractice payouts also decreased from more than $369 million awarded to Pennsylvanians in 2019 to approximately $246.5 million in awards to Pennsylvanians in 2020.
These trends are in line with reports nationwide. Overall, medical personnel in the US saw a decrease in medical malpractice suits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysts believe the decrease in medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania and around the US can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting backlog of cases. When courts began hearing cases after reopening, criminal cases were heard first, followed by civil cases – like medical malpractice cases.
As medical malpractice cases grow due to medical staffing shortages, artificial intelligence, and physician burnout, ensure you are prepared if a medical error happens to you or a loved one.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Continue to Champion Cases
Throughout the pandemic, medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania, like Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk, LLC, have remained hard at work to obtain financial compensation for medical costs, lost wages, future earnings, and pain and suffering caused by a medical error or medical malpractice injury.
The trust and special access that patients grant medical professionals cannot be understated.
Patients share information and believe that their best interests will be pursued by their medical providers. The accidental or intentional breach of this patient - medical practitioner relationship due to a negligent injury merits a discussion with a trustworthy, experienced medical malpractice attorney.
The Cost of Medical Errors
The life-altering impact of medical errors can be exceptionally costly. The failure to diagnose a condition, mistreatment of a condition or complications from treatment come at a great price to those who bear the weight of a medical provider’s negligence.
“Approximately 400,000 hospitalized patients experience some type of preventable harm each year,” stated a recent StatPearls article on Medical Error Reduction and Prevention. “[And] medical errors in hospitals and clinics result in approximately 100,000 people dying each year.”
These numbers help to verify the assertion in Stat News’ article “Medical Errors and Accidents: An Ongoing Threat to Health,” which states, “Death by medical error or accident is the nation’s leading cause of accidental death, exceeding all other causes of accidental death combined.”
The impact of medical errors on the lives of patients and their families is significant. When considering lost wages, future earnings, the costs of medical treatments and medications, adaptive changes required in the home, continued care and the pain and suffering inflicted - it can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can counsel families and fight for the financial compensation they need to adapt to these difficult situations.
Recent Survey Highlights Commonly Sued Practice Areas and Lawsuit Rationale
A recent Medscape Malpractice Report 2021 surveyed more than 4,300 physicians in nearly 30 specialties and found about half had been named in at least one lawsuit. Of those named, surgeons (83 percent), orthopedists (81 percent) and urologists (80 percent) were sued most often.
The rationale behind the lawsuits focused mainly on two areas: failure to diagnose (31 percent) and complications from treatment (29 percent).
Many of the claims never made it to trial – more than a third of survey respondents said their cases were settled before coming to trial. 40 percent of cases lasted a year or more, which may be extended even more due to the pandemic.
Working directly with insurance companies may provide a quick settlement, but this may end up harming you as the full extent of your injury and complications may take time to fully grasp.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania will be able to advise and guide patients and their families through what may be a long and drawn-out process to achieve financial compensation.
Medical Errors and Injuries from AI
As the world incorporates more and better technology into our health care, new questions and issues arise. For example, what happens in the case where a person is injured at the “hands” of artificial intelligence (AI)?
Many health care providers utilize artificial intelligence (AI) in their practices. Some AI even performs predictive algorithms to guide care – predicting patient risks, diagnoses, selecting medications and more.
With most legal precedents focused on human conduct, the law is evolving in these areas. In these instances, a medical malpractice attorney’s expertise is critically important. The case must be researched, approached and argued appropriately to ensure liability and negligence is correctly designated.
Work With a Medical Malpractice Attorney for the Best Outcome
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or death from what you suspect may be medical malpractice, contact a trusted medical malpractice lawyer like Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk, LLC. Working directly with insurance companies may harm your claim and decrease the amount of financial compensation that you may be able to achieve.
When you meet with an attorney, you bring anything that documents your experience: medical records, photographs, as well as names and contact information of witnesses who can support your claim of being injured as a result of negligent care. Our office staff will help you as you work with our team to build a solid case.
Our talented, expert medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers have decades of experience in personal injury law. Douglas Engelman, Gary Black and David Wilk have won substantial settlements for clients.
Before you speak with the insurance companies, call Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk, LLC for a free consultation. The results may be invaluable.