There are several misconceptions regarding medical malpractice claims. In some cases, these misconceptions can discourage victims from filing a claim. Victims do not want to be perceived as dishonest, or money hungry. However, a medical malpractice claim should be about finding answers, holding doctors or hospitals accountable for negligence, and recovering expenses incurred as a result of the incorrect action of medical professionals.
Many people believe that most medical practice claims are frivolous. However, the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study in 2006 which found that of the 1,452 closed claims, actual injuries were involved in 97 percent, and only 3 percent could be considered frivolous. Furthermore, reviewers determined that a minimum of 63 percent were the result of a medical error that fell under the term medical malpractice.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of medical malpractice victims — as many as 87 percent — never file any type of claim. Thousands of victims every year suffer in silence, and the medical professionals that caused their injuries are not held accountable.
According to a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study, there are approximately 4,044 “never events” that occur every year, such as leaving objects inside a patient during surgery, or performing an incorrect procedure. These types of mistakes still happen, even though they are preventable and often have simple solutions.
One of the most destructive medical malpractice misconceptions is that most victims file claims for the money. While many victims do need financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, etc., many claims are filed simply because the victims want answers, according to Harvard researchers. In fact, after the University of Michigan implemented a policy of being open with patients and apologizing when errors occurred, the number of medical malpractice claims decreased.
Furthermore, the majority of claims are not catastrophic, nor do they yield a large payout. According to a study conducted by the National Association for Healthcare Quality earlier this year, payouts exceeding $1 million tend to be claims involving serious injuries such as brain damage or quadriplegia that require lifelong care, infant injuries, and wrongful death.
If you or a loved one suffered needlessly because of medical malpractice, do not let common misconceptions prevent you from getting the answers and financial compensation you need.