Medical Malpractice Sobering Statistics
Here’s a sobering statistic: by age 60, 80 percent of doctors have experienced at least one medical malpractice suit. Furthermore, the average compensation in medical malpractice claims is $485,000, with average jury awards after a verdict being double that of out-of-court settlement: $799,000 for jury awards and $462,000 for settlements, according to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine.
That’s a lot of money. Are you as a doctor in good standing in your community willing to take that kind of hit? In addition to the financial blow, there is the consideration that your reputation could be irreparably damaged as well. Unfortunately, you can’t control who brings a lawsuit against you. Fortunately, you can be prepared for that eventuality by having a solid medical malpractice insurance policy in place. Let’s check out the top reasons why doctors get sued:
- According to Medscape, two-thirds of male doctors were sued compared with less than half of women. Men are more likely to be the only named defendant, and women are sued less than their male counterparts regardless of what specialty they’re in.
- Failure to diagnose. This is when a doctor fails to catch or diagnose an illness or disease, such as cancer. This also includes a delay in diagnosis. Failure to diagnose accounts for up to 60 percent of all medical malpractice cases.
- Medication errors. Errors such as prescription-related mistakes or adverse drug reactions make up a bulk of medical malpractice cases.
- Failure to consult in a timely manner. If doctors cannot pinpoint the exact cause of a patient’s illness, he or she is advised to consult with another professional or two or three to get the patient the answers they need in a timely manner so treatment can begin promptly.
- Failure to follow safety procedures. This can happen when doctors are tired or mentally distracted, resulting in mistakes during surgery or treatment. It may be advised to reschedule the procedure rather than run the risk of mistake due to factors like sleep deprivation that can lead to poor performance.
- Failure to obtain consent. Doctors must document all interactions and discussions with patients for expected outcomes, potential risks and reasonable alternatives.
- Negligent fracture or trauma care. X-rays should be taken even in cases where sprains are suspected to ensure a fracture or some other form of trauma has not occurred.
More than half of doctors admit they worry about the threat of lawsuits a good amount of the time, with only one percent saying it never bothers them. While most doctors win the lawsuits they are charged with, the fear of being drawn into the legal world is a stressful proposition when you factor in years of dealing with unpredictable courts, clients, depositions, and of course the damage to your reputation. So regardless of whether you ultimately win or lose the case, there’s really no winner here.
Don’t leave your financial future and reputation to chance. Get the proper coverage when it comes to medical malpractice insurance. Contact The Kerr Agency today to learn how we can craft a custom policy to meet your needs.