What Are the Odds of Winning a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Malpractice claims are fairly common, but how often are these cases won? For some cases, the specifics of your claim may determine your odds of winning your case, but for others, hiring a reliable malpractice attorney in Baltimore is another essential part of winning your case. Let’s break down the odds of winning a case and other common questions.
What Are the Odds of Winning a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Whether or not you are the defendant or the plaintiff in a malpractice claim will generally determine the odds of your outcome. For most cases, physicians tend to be favored by juries and the courts with about 50% of cases with strong evidence of negligence still favoring the physician. For plaintiffs (the victims of medical malpractice), it’s much rarer to win a case.
Roughly 5% of victims of medical malpractice win cases for treatment errors and diagnostic errors. About 13% of plaintiffs win settlements for errors related to surgery and 27% are compensated for medication errors. In other words, plaintiffs have significantly less chance of winning cases related to medical malpractice.
Does That Mean Winning a Case Is Impossible?
Not at all. Even if the chances of winning a malpractice lawsuit are slim, that doesn’t mean winning a strong case is impossible. An experienced lawyer will be able to collect evidence for your case and prove fault for your injuries or suffering so you can receive the financial compensation you deserve. A malpractice lawsuit can go in your favor when there is particularly strong evidence for your case, particularly when there is evidence and testimony to support your claim.
What Are Common Obstacles for Medical Malpractice Cases in Baltimore?
The most common obstacle for medical malpractice is not filing your case within the statute of limitations. In Baltimore, in accordance with the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-109, victims of medical malpractice must file a claim within five years of the data or the injury or three years of the discovery of the injury. Failure to meet this statute of limitations will prevent your case from reaching any settlement.
Some states have a much more narrow range for the statute of limitations. The five-year or three-year limit allows victims adequate time to discover an injury related to physician error. However, this can also be an obstacle because it can cast doubt on the injury. It’s best to consult a legal professional as soon as you suspect you have an injury related to medical malpractice.
How Do You Know If You Have a Case?
Medical malpractice is a highly complex discipline of law because several variables have to be met and proven. There are very specific circumstances that are required to qualify for a medical malpractice claim. When in doubt, contacting a legal professional with experience in medical malpractice is the best way to verify whether or not you have a case.
Some indications that you may have a case include:
- Abnormal unsatisfactory results
- Lack of informed consent
- Physician admits to a mistake
- Deviation from the standard of care
- Breach of care
Identifying Your Case
So, how do you identify whether or not you have a case? Most people will be able to tell whether or not medical treatment seems abnormal, such as a physician not attending to your care or a physician imposing treatment without explaining the treatment process or the consequences of the treatment. Many people can identify unexpected pain after treatment or surgical procedures that may indicate errors were made during treatment.
Much of the time, identifying your malpractice case happens after you seek further medical treatment. For example, if you have abnormal results after a surgical procedure (such as healing with an infection or having a drawn-out recovery), you may seek medical attention and a new physician may identify possible errors in your previous treatment that may contribute to your current condition. Alternatively, when you seek legal advice, you may be referred to an independent medical examination to verify your case.
What Are Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
Several circumstances can look like medical malpractice. One of the core tenants of this type of claim is the presence of a defined doctor-patient or healthcare provider-patient relationship since this will define the accepted terms of behaviors and practices that should be used by the healthcare professional. Deviations in the expected outcome of these relationships are the most common cause of medical malpractice
Misdiagnosing a medical issue can lead to errors in treatment, such as using the wrong procedures or medications. Misdiagnosing a patient can allow their condition to worsen as well as prevent treatment for the correct condition in a timely manner, which can potentially impose life-threatening or life-altering injuries.
Failure to Diagnose
Failure to correctly diagnose a patient is similar to a misdiagnosis, but a complete failure to diagnose is more strongly related to negligence. Circumstances surrounding a failure to diagnose can include a physician being too overwhelmed or busy by the number of patients or other diagnostic errors. A failure to diagnose a patient can lead to patient death and further complications in the condition of the patient.
Errors during surgery are unfortunately common, such as using incorrect anesthesia or improperly using tools to operate on a patient. Because surgeries are delicate procedures during which the patient’s life may hang in the balance, surgeons need to be knowledgeable and skilled. Errors during surgery can easily end a patient’s life or cause injuries, including disabilities, that are difficult to recover from. Furthermore, errors during surgery may require additional expensive surgeries to correct.
Injuries during childbirth typically occur when the birth requires additional medical attention, such as the use of forceps or injuries sustained during C-section procedures. Injuries during birth can affect the infant, mother, or both. Failure to monitor the health of both mother and child during childbirth can lead to the death or injury of one or both. Additionally, infants who sustain injuries during birth can suffer from life-long disabilities and health challenges.
Medication and Prescription Errors
The most common example of a medication or prescription error occurs when a pharmacist gives a patient the incorrect medication or dosage. However, physicians can also commit medication malpractice if they prescribe medications without accounting for known drug allergies and interactions with medications the patient is already taking.
Hospitals and medical facilities are duty-bound to be safe, clean places to receive medical care. If a hospital or medical facility fails to prevent the spread of infection or has other poor conditions that may negatively impact a patient’s health, the facility itself may be guilty of malpractice. Additionally, hospitals and medical facilities may face additional financial and legal penalties for failure to meet health codes and other regulations.
To be sure, winning a medical malpractice lawsuit can be challenging for victims of malpractice. But although winning these cases can be a steep uphill battle, it’s not impossible if you have a knowledgeable legal team supporting your case. With an experienced malpractice attorney, your claim stands a higher chance of being awarded financial compensation for the injuries you sustained under medical care. Please contact Peter Angelos in Baltimore, MD to learn more about winning your malpractice lawsuit today.