New York typically has the most medical malpractice reports in the country, and their total medical malpractice payments are twice as high as any other state. Medical malpractice is when medical professionals either knowingly or unknowingly fail to take suitable action or offer adequate treatment, or provide substandard care that results in harm, injury, or death for the patient. Medical malpractice is often the result of a mistake in taking a medical histories, diagnostics, aftercare, pharmaceutical administration, healthcare management or therapy.
Elements of medical malpractice
Courts recognize there is a standard of care in the medical field, as there are standards within most industries. Physicians have a duty to provide the standard of care when treating patients or they may be liable for negligence. To qualify as medical malpractice, the duty to provide the standard of care must have been breached as a direct result of the medical professional’s carelessness or ignorance. To claim medical malpractice, the breach must directly result in an injury that causes significant damages.
Understanding medical malpractice
Approximately 15,000 to 20,0000 medical malpractice claims are filed in the US every year. Studies show that medical errors are one of the leading abuses of death in the U.S, accounting for close to 250,000 deaths each year. Most medical malpractice allegations involve an error in diagnosis, surgery, treatment, obstetrics or medications. In 2019, Harvard Health found that close to 80 percent of all medical malpractice cases involve serious injuries or death.
Medical malpractice can also involve a lack of informed consent or the failure to diagnose a condition. Other common examples of medical malpractice include early discharge, failing to order necessary tests, and misreading lab results, among others. From the time of injury, the average medical malpractice could take one to five years to settle in court.