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Simple but Scary: These Medical Malpractice Statistics Will Make you Sick

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. According to a large study that examined 251,000 deaths from 2000 to 2008, medical errors may account for 700 deaths every day. Medical errors may make up close to 10 percent of all annual deaths in the United States.

With such concerning numbers, most individuals would assume that medical malpractice verdicts and settlements are common. However, the number of medical malpractice payouts has actually been declining for well over a decade—for fourteen years, to be precise.

In fact, the number of payments for medical malpractice claims in 2015 was 46% lower than it was in 2001. In 2001, there were a reported 15,898 payouts nationally; in 2015, there were 8,594.

If medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, how could the number of medical malpractice payouts be decreasing? What does this mean for injured patients?

The answer is both simple and scary. Payouts are decreasing because laws are being implemented that make it harder and harder to hold accountable those whose carelessness cause serious injury and death. In addition, jurors often are biased against people who have been injured and in favor of doctors and hospitals. Years and years of propaganda and advertising campaigns bankrolled by very wealthy insurance companies have indoctrinated people into believing that people who sue doctors and hospitals are greedy and looking to “hit the lottery.” Worse still, some people with valid claims and serious injuries are themselves so indoctrinated by this propaganda that they are too ashamed to seek legal help.

But, the truth is that people who file suit against doctors and hospitals are ordinary people who are not seeking to hit any kind of lottery. They are typically severely injured through no fault of their own. They usually have no other recourse, no other way to hold accountable those who caused their injuries. And quite often, they are looking only to ensure that they can afford the future treatment their injuries will require and to recoup their out of pocket losses and economic injuries.

Unfortunately, as access to the courts is cut off by legislation and verdicts are reduced by jury bias, the incentive to provide proper care is reduced, and the rate of preventable errors increased. While medical negligence lawsuits alone cannot eliminate medical errors as the third leading cause of death, they remain one way to incentivize good care, which in turn helps reduce errors and the injuries associated with such errors.

If you were injured by a medical professional, you need the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who understands the evidence that must be presented in these challenging claims. To schedule a free consultation with leading Ohio medical malpractice attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today. The Eisen Law Firm is dedicated exclusively to medical negligence cases.