An often-repeated statistic is that medical malpractice (preventable medical errors) in the United States causes approximately 98,000 deaths per year and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Despite these statistics, there are very few medical malpractice claims filed relative to the number of potential claims. Research has found that the vast majority of medical malpractice claims filed are meritorious. Almost one-half of physicians admit that they have not reported their medical errors or incompetence. About six percent of physicians are responsible for almost sixty percent of medical malpractice claims in the United States. Hospitals and health care systems that fully disclose medical errors to their patients found that the number and costs of medical malpractice claims actually fell. Preventing medical errors would reduce health care costs, reduce costs of medical malpractice insurance for physicians, and protect patients.
The costs of medical malpractice claims is less than two percent of all health care costs in the United States. Completely restricting medical malpractice claims would lower health care costs by less than one-half of one percent (but at what cost to injured patients?).
The number of medical malpractice claims have remained relatively stable over the last several decades but medical malpractice insurance premiums charged by medical malpractice insurance companies during that time increased quickly, resulting in high premium surpluses enjoyed by the insurance companies. Health care costs have not been reduced in states that have enacted caps on damages in medical malpractice cases but hospitals and medical malpractice companies have enjoyed earnings in the tens of millions of dollars without reducing their charges to patients and physicians in those states.
The number of physicians in the United States is increasing and outpacing the rate of population growth in the United States. There are twice as many physicians per 100,000 population in the United States now than in the 1960s. The ratio of physicians to 100,000 population is highest in those states that do not have caps on medical malpractice damages.
Two-thirds of physicians who have had ten or more medical malpractice payments have never been subject to disciplinary action (almost one-half of hospitals have never reported a disciplinary action to the National Practitioner Data Bank).
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of a medical mistake, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. The advice of a medical malpractice attorney is essential in order to become aware of your rights. Visit our website to be connected to medical malpractice lawyers in your area who may be able to help you with your medical malpractice claim. You may also telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959.