A shocking number of people die or suffer serious health problems every year, caused by the very people and institutions they trust to provide the medical treatment that should safeguard their health. The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that medical negligence is one of the top three leading causes of death in the United States, right after heart disease and cancer.
The Horrifying Medical Malpractice Statistics
Approximately 200,000 patients die annually as a result of medical mistakes, according to a 2013 article in Forbes magazine. The actual number may be even higher. A study reported in the Journal of Patient Safety found that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients suffer harm to their health that ultimately results in death as a result of preventable errors in hospitals. In addition, an untold number of patients who have survived medical malpractice have suffered life-altering long term or permanent damage to their health and quality of life.
How Do We Define Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that fails to meet accepted standards of practice in the medical community and results in injury to the patient.
Doctors and other medical professionals receive a license to practice only after years of intensive study. Furthermore, healthcare professionals are expected to stay current on medical research as new information becomes available through reading and mandatory hours of continuing education. Doctors have a duty to apply this knowledge properly and deliver an appropriate standard of care for the benefit of the patient.
“Standard of care” refers to what a reasonably prudent medical professional in the same specialty would or would not do in the same or similar situation. Anyone who chooses to work as a healthcare provider owes this duty of care to every patient. When that duty is breached and a patient is harmed, the patient or surviving family members are entitled to file an action for medical malpractice.
What Do You Need to Prove to Win a Medical Malpractice Case?
Through your medical malpractice attorney, you will need to prove four legal elements:
- The doctor or healthcare provider owed a professional duty to the patient;
- The provider breached the duty;
- The patient sustained injuries as a result of the breach;
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the injury.
Many lawyers are reluctant to take on medical malpractice cases. They are extremely difficult and complex, and require a high level of legal expertise, time, money, and expert support. In spite of the fact that medical errors kill in the neighborhood of 200,000 patients annually in the United States, only 15 percent of all personal-injury lawsuits are medical malpractice claims.
In spite of the low rate at which lawyers accept malpractice cases, payouts to the injured totaled around $3.6 billion in 2012.
Virginia’s Successful Medical Malpractice Attorneys at MichieHamlett
If you suspect that you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice anywhere in Virginia, you will find the help you need at the personal injury section of the MichieHamlett law firm in Charlottesville. We hold the firm belief that medical professionals must be held to the highest standards to prevent injury and loss of life. We have access to a network of respected physicians who assist us in analyzing patient records to identify where the standard of care deviated from the norm, and we have extensive experience presenting meticulously prepared cases to malpractice insurance carriers and juries to win appropriate monetary awards for our clients. We are passionate and aggressive in our pursuit of justice for those whose trust in their doctors has been violated and their health destroyed.
Legal Time Limits to File Claims in Virginia
Call the MichieHamlett personal injury division today to schedule your free medical malpractice consultation and records analysis. Virginia law restricts the amount of time you have to file, so don’t delay or you could lose your right to a recovery.