7 Medical Malpractice Myths Debunked (Pt. 3)
May 20, 2015
Here’s the conclusion to our blog series 7 Medical Malpractice Myths Debunked.
A Few More Medical Malpractice Myths Dispelled
Myth 5 – An increasing number of medical malpractice cases have been filed in recent years.
Fact – Nope! Actually, since around 1997, the number of medical malpractice filings in the U.S. has decreased. In fact, as the National Center for State Courts has reported:
- There has been an 8 percent decrease in medical malpractice filings over the past 17 or so years.
- While personal injury cases only comprise about 6 percent of the total caseload for the civil court system, medical negligence claims only make about 3 percent of these cases. In other words, medical malpractice cases only represent about 0.18 percent of the total caseload for the U.S. civil court system.
Myth 6 – Medical malpractice lawsuits are increasing health care costs and are forcing physicians to stop practicing medicine.
Fact – This is also blatantly untrue, as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has pointed out that:
- Defending physicians against medical negligence claims and compensating victims costs about $7.1 billion each year. This represents only 0.3 percent of the total U.S. healthcare costs.
- In contrast, the costs associated with preventable medical mistakes are more than quadruple those associated with medical negligence claims, as preventable medical errors cost $29 billion annually in the U.S.
- Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of practicing physicians in the U.S., representing an all-time high for the nation.
Myth 7 – Awards in medical malpractice cases are outrageous and out of control.
Fact – Wrong again! Although people tend to hear about large medical malpractice awards, only about 0.5 percent of medical malpractice awards are $1 million or greater (and these are for cases associated with the most serious/fatal injuries).
In fact, while some research has found that the average payout for a medical malpractice claim associated with serious/permanent injuries was between $215,000 and $315,000, a RAND study has reported that, over the past 40 or so years, the value of the awards has not grown/increased consistently with the value of real income.
Here, it’s also important to note that, while hundreds of thousands of dollars for a malpractice award may seem substantial, these awards are generally intended to cover a lifetime of medical bills, lost income and other costs.
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We realize how physically, psychologically and financially devastating medical malpractice can be. That is why our lawyers are here to aggressively defend injured people’s rights to both justice and compensation.