Medical malpractice situations are often kept under wraps and rarely discussed except behind closed doors. However, the data shows that it’s a major problem in the United States.
“According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer,” CNBC reports. “Other studies report much higher figures, claiming the number of deaths from medical error to be as high as 440,000.”
The discrepancy lies in the fact that funeral directors, physicians, medical examiners, and coroners rarely put information on death certificates that indicates human errors or system failures. Furthermore, the CDC only records deaths as caused by disease, injuries, and morbid conditions.
In other words, medical malpractice is an even bigger problem than we realize – yet many people make victims feel guilty for pursuing claims and lawsuits.
Over the years, medical malpractice victims have been painted as greedy people, when the truth of the matter is they’re just trying to reclaim their former lives. It’s the healthcare organizations and their insurance providers who have dollar signs in their eyes.
If you’ve been victimized by medical malpractice, you have every right to file a claim. In fact, you should file a claim – and there are two specific reasons why: compensation and justice.
Filing Medical Malpractice Claims for Compensation
A serious medical injury can be expensive. You might think you’re in the clear, but your upfront medical expenses are often just the start. You’ll want to consider all of the potential costs – including ongoing and future expenses.
Here are some of the common types of damages that are included in a medical malpractice claim:
- Medical bills. This is the easiest of all the damages to calculate. It’s simply the sum of all medical expenses associated with the malpractice. It accounts for any procedures, medication, or therapy associated with the incident.
- Lost income. If you missed work because of the malpractice, your claim can cover your lost wages (and any future lost wages for doctor’s appointments, therapy, etc.).
- Future medical bills. In some cases, a serious medical malpractice incident will lead to lifelong medical procedures or, at the very least, ongoing prescription medication. These future medical bills can be calculated and included.
- Pain and suffering. This is often the most difficult type of damage to calculate, but it can be the highest. It takes the pain and suffering of the victim into account and is designed to provide some form of justice.
- Loss of consortium. This refers to the intangible benefits that the victim previously offered his or her spouse/partner prior to the incident.
So while you might think you only need a few thousand dollars to cover a couple of medical bills, you don’t know what the future will bring. There could be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional expenses over the decades. By seeking compensation, you ensure this one incident doesn’t define the rest of your life.
Filing Medical Malpractice Claims for Justice
Sometimes it’s less about the money going into the victim’s pocket and more about the impact it has on the doctors and organizations involved.
“Problems that lead to serious medical errors are often systemic problems. They rarely occur in isolation. A chain of events such as a hurried pre-operative routine or the way medications are stored can cause a health professional to commit a preventable error,” Baker & Gilchrist explains.
“Our experience is that the systemic problem that led to the medical error won’t get fixed until someone calls attention to it. A medical negligence lawsuit focuses attention on a problem and change that will benefit others in the future.”
Even if your efforts save one life – or prevent one injury – you can consider your malpractice claim to be a success. After all, it’s hard to put a price tag on pain and suffering.
Don’t Feel Guilty – It’s Your Right
If you’ve been victimized by medical malpractice, you owe it to your future self, as well as others, to pursue a claim. If nothing else, your claim will serve as an example to the medical community that their incompetence and irresponsible behavior won’t be tolerated. Good luck!