40% Of Family Doctors Faced Medical Malpractice Lawsuits In 2021
Medical malpractice happens a lot in the healthcare industry—more than you might think. The good news is that it decreased by 8% from 2019 to 2021, but still, more than 40% of family physicians were sued that year.
The decrease is likely due to the COVID pandemic. People haven’t been able to get elective medical procedures done because the focus has been on the coronavirus. Hospitals and medical offices have been full and busy, with the focus on procedures that are urgent and necessary. This makes medical malpractice less likely to occur.
Also, personal injury attorneys may not have felt comfortable bringing about medical malpractice lawsuits during this time. With staffing shortages and nurses working longer hours than usual to save the lives of COVID patients, the community as a whole has been grateful to nurses and doctors for all their work and care. Having a jury decide on a case involving doctors would most likely end up in the doctors’ favor.
Reasons for the Lawsuits
Why are patients suing doctors? The top reason was diagnosis issues. Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis were responsible for 43% of medical malpractice lawsuits. The next most common reasons were disease progression, accounting for 23% of lawsuits, followed by wrongful death (14%), complications from surgery (13%), and delayed treatment or failure to treat, at 11%.
Less common were abnormal injuries, accounting for 9% of medical malpractice claims, followed by poor education and lack of patient instructions (6%), medication errors (4%), and lack of informed consent (2%).
Of the family physicians surveyed, 84% said the lawsuits were unwarranted. In 39% of cases, the lawsuit was settled before trial. In 13% of cases the physician was dismissed from the lawsuit early on. The judge or jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor in just 3% of cases. None of the doctors surveyed were involved in a malpractice lawsuit for a COVID-19-related allegation.
While most doctors did not think the lawsuits were warranted, more than half did feel the outcomes were fair. In 47% of cases, the plaintiff received less than $100,000. The good news is that more than 60% of doctors surveyed did not feel that the lawsuits affected their medical careers.
While most doctors pay between $5,000 and $9,999 annually for malpractice insurance, premiums can differ depending on location, coverage type, and physician specialty. Physicians in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania pay the highest malpractice costs.
Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Today
While doctors make mistakes just like everyone else, they need to be aware that their errors have extreme consequences. Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can lead to misdiagnosed illnesses and serious injuries.
If you have suffered damages due to a doctor’s mistake, a Morristown medical malpractice attorney from The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff can help. We’ll assist you with these complex claims so you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (973) 455-1567 or filling out the online form.