Medical Mistakes: The Prevalence of Malpractice in the U.S.

July 29, 2014

Unfortunately and tragically, medical mistakes happen far more often than you may realize. In doctors’ offices, clinics and even hospitals, malpractice is an all-too-common occurrence that, in the most serious cases, leaves people with permanent, debilitating injuries or even life-threatening impairments.

In this article we’ll continue scrutinizing malpractice in the U.S. (as we recently did in our Surgery Errors blog series), highlighting some important statistics regarding how often medical negligence takes place in American medical facilities.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been hurt by any medical mistake or negligence, the Portland malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm are here for you and ready to discuss your possible case and rights.

How Often Do Medical Mistakes Occur in the U.S.? The Answers Are Shocking…

About 33 percent of all hospital patients are the subjects of medical mistakes, and about 440,000 people die each year due to medical negligence, researchers have found.

About 33 percent of all hospital patients are the subjects of medical mistakes, and about 440,000 people die each year due to medical negligence, researchers have found.

The following statistics regarding medical negligence and malpractice in the U.S. have been compiled by a number of credible sources, some of which include the Institute of Medicine, the Journal of Patient Safety, the New England Journal of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University:

  • About 33 percent of all hospital patients will be the target of some medical mistake.
  • Each year in the U.S., an estimated 440,000 people die as a result of preventable medical mistakes.
  • Surgery errors, including leaving objects in patients and wrong site surgeries, reportedly occur nearly 60 times every week in American hospitals.
  • Medical negligence costs tens of billions of dollars every year.

For more important information regarding the prevalence of medical mistakes in the U.S., be sure to look for the upcoming second part of this blog.

After Medical Mistakes: Filing Malpractice Lawsuits

Less than 2 percent of all civil cases are malpractice lawsuits. This is shocking considering the prevalence of medical negligence in the U.S.

Less than 2 percent of all civil cases are malpractice lawsuits. This is shocking considering the prevalence of medical negligence in the U.S.

We learned in the first installment of this blog that more than 440,000 people die each year as a result of medical negligence. What may be just as – if not more – shocking than this are the facts that:

  • Tens of thousands of additional patients are seriously injured by the mistakes made by nurses, doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals.
  • Many people who are the subjects of malpractice do not end up seeking justice to hold the negligent parties accountable. In fact, researchers have found that, despite the high incidence of medical negligence in the U.S., only a very small amount of malpractice lawsuits ever end up getting filed. As one study found, malpractice cases comprise less than 2 percent of all civil cases.
  • About 97 percent of malpractice lawsuits that are filed are meritorious. This means that less than 3 percent of these cases are actually “frivolous.”

Although it’s unclear why so many of the people who are hurt by medical negligence do not end up pursuing justice via malpractice lawsuits, some have theorized that the following may be factors:

  • People are unaware of their rights and the option of filing malpractice lawsuits.
  • In some cases, people may not even realize that their injuries were, in fact, caused by medical negligence.
  • People may accept settlements from insurance companies for doctors or hospitals before even exploring their legal options. In these cases, the insurers tend to offer injured patients are less than they deserve for their claims, and people may be unaware that, if they worked with an attorney, they would likely be able to secure the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled.

Portland Malpractice Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm: We Are Here For You

Have you or a loved one been hurt by any type of medical negligence? If so, the Portland malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm are here for you. For more than three decades, we have been committed to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.

We realize how devastating the effects of medical mistakes can be, and our lawyers are here to aggressively defend injured people’s rights to both justice and compensation. While this means that our Portland malpractice lawyers will work diligently to help our clients tell their stories in court, it also means that our attorneys and dedicated staff will vigorously stand up to insurers and others outside of the courtroom to ensure that our clients are able to obtain the settlements they deserve.

Contact Our Portland Malpractice Lawyers Today

Helping you recover from the financial setbacks caused by medical mistakes is one of our primary goals. Our Portland personal injury attorneys encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free initial consult.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.

We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Blog, Malpractice