Everyone makes mistakes, particularly in stressful scenarios, but some mistakes cannot be taken lightly. When it comes to medical malpractice, there are several misconceptions that lead people to believe doctors and other healthcare professionals should not be held responsible for their errors.
As medical malpractice attorneys, we understand that wrongdoing during a high-stakes procedure, like an operation, can ruin or even end someone’s life. The severity of those mistakes requires justice and accountability.
According to a study by Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Despite this shocking statistic, medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most misunderstood types of cases in all of law.
In our more than 30 years of experience, most clients we represent know little about the process involved in investigating and preparing a medical malpractice case. To clear up that confusion, we’ll debunk some of the most common medical malpractice misconceptions.
1. Medical errors are always associated with negligence
Most people feel intimidated about initiating a malpractice suit because they feel that malpractice is strictly concerned with improper care, such as mistakenly cutting an artery or operating on the wrong body part.
However, that is not always the case.
Malpractice can be much broader, essentially “any unnecessary harm done to a patient.” This harm could include misdiagnosis, improper treatment, inadequate follow up, and many other improper actions.
2. Malpractice cases are always frivolous or filed out of greed
Of course, some claims may be disingenuous or baseless. However, the true goal of every legitimate medical malpractice case is to provide an actual victim of wrongdoing with justice and answers for the harm they received under a doctor or healthcare provider’s supervision.
Those cases force the medical practitioner to testify about his or her actions and either offer additional support to their claims or pay compensation to those they harm.
3. Malpractice only applies to doctors and surgeons
Many cases involve doctors and surgeons being at fault for malpractice, but any medical professional who harms a patient is susceptible to a malpractice lawsuit. These professionals can include nurses, medical assistants, anesthesiologists, and more.
Improper care can be given by any practitioner, and they must be held liable for their actions. You can see examples in our recent case resulting from medical malpractice by a nurse, as well as read details on a settlement our team secured for an incident involving a cardiologist.
4. Medical boards usually investigate and discipline doctors for malpractice
Only rarely do doctors experience disciplinary measures by a medical board. Because of this, we believe the best way to change negligent behavior is by forcing physicians to confront their mistakes and accept responsibility.
While some victims may not wish to undergo the lawsuit process, it may be the best way to ensure a doctor does not make the same mistake on a future patient.
5. Medical malpractice lawyers are expensive
What many people do not realize about initiating a lawsuit is that it does not ordinarily require the client to advance the costs of the investigation.
In fact, many lawyers work on a contingency basis, making lawsuits surprisingly affordable for victims. This means that the victim of malpractice will only pay the legal fees if their attorneys favorably resolve the case.
6. Medical malpractice cases result in huge payouts
While some medical malpractice lawsuits can generate eight figure settlements or verdicts, payouts that large do not always occur in medical malpractice lawsuits. Most meritorious cases generate compensation that covers both economic and non-economic losses.
However, in cases when someone is a victim of a catastrophic incident, they can be entitled to a substantial settlement representative of the suffering they endured.
If you are reading this because you or somebody you love is seeking legal representation and needs assistance, Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen is here to help you. Check out our practice areas page to see what legal areas our teams specialize in. Be sure to fill out the form at the bottom of our home page or call +1 (888) 296-1681 for a free consultation.