Medical malpractice occurs when you suffer an injury due to a deviation in care. Basically, that means that your healthcare provider has made a decision that most other healthcare providers would not have made in that situation and you suffered damages as a result. Here are five interesting facts about medical malpractice.
1. Medical Malpractice Is the United States’ Third Leading Cause of Death
Medical malpractice is the United States’ third leading cause of death, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. This particular study claims that nearly 200,000 people die from malpractice every year.
On a statistical level, that means that you are more likely to know someone who has died from medical malpractice than you are to know someone who has died in a car accident, from a stroke or due to suicide.
Of course, that number does not even taken into account the patients who have suffered damages from medical malpractice. That figure is much larger, and it's impossible to pin down, as many people never come forward.
2. Medical Malpractice Claims Are Down
Although many people cry that litigation causes medical costs to go up, the reality shows something different. Currently, while medical costs are at an all-time high, the number of medical malpractice cases are down. One can only speculate why the numbers are down, but the reasons are likely to vary from person to person.
Some people may not know that they have the right to bring forth litigation. Others may believe that their situations got worse on their own and may not understand when their health care providers are to blame.
3. Americans Won Close to $4 Billion in Medical Malpractice Claims in 2015
Although the actual number of cases may be down, many Americans are getting the justice they deserve. As of 2015, $3.954 billion was paid out in medical malpractice claims. This is an increase over the previous five years, but it's markedly less than the over $4.7 billion claimed in 2003.
Claimants used these funds to cover medical bills, lost time at work, childcare, housekeeping and a range of related costs incurred due to their mistreatment. Additionally, some of these claims related to pain or suffering, loss of companionship and similar losses.
4. There Is a Statute of Limitations
For every legal issue, there is a statute of limitations. This is an official limit on the amount of time you have to bring a case forward. In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years. This means that you must bring forward your case within two years of when the incident occurred or within two years of when the treatment or hospitalization for that issue ended.
To illustrate, imagine you met with a doctor on April 15, 2016, and during that appointment, the doctor amputated the wrong leg. In this case, the statute of limitations runs out on April 15, 2018. However, if you were hospitalized as part of this treatment and you didn't leave the hospital until April 22, 2015, the statute of limitations would extend to two years past that date.
5. Finding Out More Is Free
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may want to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Worried that you can't afford it? Don't fret. When you come to the Law Offices of Rene Castellanos, the first consultation is free.
During your consultation, we can help you decide if you have a case. If it's hard for you to get out, we can even come to your home for the consultation. To learn more, contact us today.