There may be more instances of medical malpractice than are publicly known because many cases simply aren't pursued. Some victims of medical malpractice are confused by the myths and unfounded rumors that circulate in society and on the internet.
This makes them hesitant to approach an attorney about evaluating their case. If this sounds like a situation you may be facing, taking the time to debunk those myths may help you decide to take action.
Most Claims Are People Just Trying to Get Money
Many people have the wrong impression that malpractice lawsuits are frivolous and that people filing the claims are just trying to get a payday. In truth, most claims are legitimate.
Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey in 2006 to evaluate the value of medical malpractice claims and they found that only 3% of the 1,452 completed claims they studied could be considered frivolous. Those remaining cases did involve physical injuries and 63% of those cases were found to have been the result of medical errors.
The Number of Claims Outweighs Actual Incidences of Malpractice
There's a myth that many claims don't meet the criteria necessary to qualify as a malpractice lawsuit. People that believe this myth don't realize that a medical malpractice attorney will analyze the facts of the case to determine its merits before taking on any new client.
Additionally, it has been found that most people do have a case, but never pursue it. As many as seven people out of every eight have suffered from medical errors, yet they never think to consult a personal injury attorney. This suggests that there should really be more claims filed than those that are pursued.
Caregivers Shouldn’t Be Held Responsible for Unforeseeable Accidents
There's an opinion that doctors shouldn't be held liable for honest mistakes that are considered unavoidable, but this idea is born of a false assumption. The majority of medical errors that are committed by caregivers are avoidable and constitute carelessness more than anything else.
The results of a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that leaving medical equipment inside patients and performing the wrong procedures accounted for more than 4,044 medical errors annually. What makes these errors so alarming is that many of them can be prevented through simple observation and technological innovations.
Health Insurance Rates Rise as a Result of Medical Malpractice Claims
This is an assumption that only hurts the people affected by medical errors. In fact, there's no proof to suggest that malpractice claims prompt health insurance companies to raise their rates. The rates for each company are adjusted in accordance with that company's overall economic forecast, which explains why there's no correlation between malpractice claims and the changes in insurance premiums. Further debunking this myth is the fact that fewer claims have been filed in recent years, while rates continue to rise.
Claimants Must Suffer Physical Injuries
While a physical injury may be easier to display to a jury, it's not necessary to file a medical malpractice claim. You may be able to hire a personal injury attorney to pursue your claim even if your injuries are emotional or psychological. For instance, suppose your doctor neglected to tell you about the addictive nature of medication and, as a result, you need addiction recovery treatment. In that case, the harm was psychological, but it still created a need for care and a financial burden.
Any Negative Medical Outcome Can Result in Malpractice
While some medical errors are grounds to file a claim, it's also erroneous to assume every negative outcome can be blamed on a caregiver. If a patient makes an informed decision about a medical procedure and that procedure is ineffective, the fault can't be assigned to the caregiver.
Similarly, an unfavorable diagnosis that wasn't delayed or mistaken for another condition wouldn't constitute a malpractice claim. Only when a caregiver neglects to provide accurate information or performs an avoidable medical error can a medical malpractice claim be justified.
If you believe you have suffered as the result of a medical error, the best course of action is to consult a medical malpractice attorney. A free initial consultation will give you an opportunity to explain the circumstances of your case and find out if you do have a legitimate malpractice claim.
Professional and compassionate attorneys, such as those at The Moore Law Firm, can evaluate your case and give you a better idea of what you can expect while keeping you informed about your rights. This evaluation will help you decide if you do want to pursue a claim to recover the damages the medical error has caused you to suffer.
Contact The Moore Law Firm at (513) 232-2000 to discuss your case.