Should People File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Some people, especially medical professionals, hear the word lawsuit and their knees quake. Claimants and their medical malpractice lawyers seem to be getting rich off the backs of the healthcare industry. Medical malpractice lawsuits give claimants some of the highest dollar amounts in award damages. Since 1994, the actual dollar amounts lawsuits paid to claimants has tripled to an astonishing $3.5 million each year. Is it any wonder that all health care costs are going up?

There is another point of view. The most important person to consider in this debate is not the opinion of the doctor, the hospital, or the malpractice attorney. It is the injured patient. Clearly, a patient been injured may have injuries that require further treatment and incur additional costs not covered by health insurance.

It may be hard to believe, but most of the medical costs created by medical negligence are paid for by health insurance companies, not by award damages. In some cases, the offending party may write off some or all of the charges incurred due to the negligence. But if a person that has been injured does not speak up about their injuries, the health insurance company will automatically get the bill.

Who Can Make a Malpractice Claim?

In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, there has to be an actionable cause of loss. In other words, a person must suffer some sort of injury due to a negligent act from a medical professional. Medical errors are the obvious cause of most medical malpractice lawsuits. However, only 2% of medical errors cause harm to patients. Approximately one person in eight files a lawsuit against the responsible party.

If a person has been injured or damaged in some way by a medical professional or organization, the first thing they must do is seek a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. Even if they do not want to file a lawsuit, they still should seek the advice of an attorney, because most states have a statute of limitations for filing such claims. In order to protect their rights, they must put aside any personal feelings. Even if motion is filed, this does not mean they have to proceed with a lawsuit if they do not wish to.

The most obvious reason people file a lawsuit is that they received an injury that has resulted in high medical bills. Some of the cases involve injuries that are debilitating and will cause some kind of disability for the remainder of the patient's life. Other disabilities are temporary in nature, but may still merit a lawsuit.

Most lawsuits never proceed to trial. In fact, over 95% of lawsuits are settled out of court. This usually means that the claimant receives less money than they would if they proceeded to a court trial, but they avoid the difficulty that a trial may put them through.

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the news media about capping awards for non-injury related damages such as pain and suffering. Due to the rising cost of malpractice insurance, doctors around the nation are protesting.

Patient's rights should be compensated for debilitating damages must never be taken away. At the same time, a solution must be found that is acceptable for both the injured patients and the medical professionals that pay the high cost of insurance premiums. If insurance premiums force, professionals out of business, everyone pays the higher costs for health insurance, patient care, and limited services available. Both the federal and state governments must get involved. Medical professionals and facilities must also be proactive to prevent the errors that lead to injury and death.

Are All Medical Liability Claimants Being Dishonest?

There is a perception among many that anyone who files a medical liability claim is only seeking to get rich. Their lawyers are viewed as ambulance chasers, taking advantage of the stupidity of the hapless victim. The situation is much more complex. To judge all claimants and lawyers by the idea that they are defrauding the courts, insurance companies, and the medical profession, is ridiculous.

Where do people get the idea that claimants and their lawyers are committing fraud? To be fair, American society does have a subculture that feels entitled. These are the people who lie to their own insurance companies and collect money for claims that never happened. If there is a wet spot on the floor in a grocery store, they fall and threatened to sue the store. They want something for nothing. These people would file suit against a medical professional as well.

As a society, Americans must examine the cost for filing fraudulent claims. If a person is caught defrauding another, laws are in place that will punish him or her. Frivolous lawsuits increase costs for everyone. In the case of medical malpractice lawsuits, fraudulent behavior may leave people without a good doctor.