When medical negligence occurs, the effects can have a far-reaching impact. In addition to hurting the victim of negligence, the action also hurts others. It hurts the family of the victim, other medical professionals, and the economy. Find out all about the economic impact of medical negligence.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor fails to provide the standard of care to his patient. Typically, this occurs when a doctor fails to perform a required test or overlooks a key symptom of a disease. Although negligence is a type of malpractice, people often use the term synonymously. Often, malpractice cases involve some type of negligence.
For malpractice to be at play, a lawyer needs to prove that the accused doctor failed to provide the skill and care that another doctor would provide. If a doctor from a similar background and in the same community would have provided better care, then malpractice occurred.
Who does it hurt?
Of course, medical negligence hurts the victim the most. However, there are many others who can feel the effects of negligence. The economy suffers greatly from it, and there are a few reasons for this.
1. The large settlement fees or court verdicts
Whether a negligence case ends with a settlement or a court verdict, the cost can be very high. Although the cost depends on the circumstances surrounding the case, medical negligence can result in verdicts of millions of dollars. No matter how minor the situation may seem, the verdict can be a large sum of money. Even settlements, which occur frequently, tend to have high payouts.
While the victim and his family benefit from this payout, the hospital and doctors don’t. The cost of negligence is a high one. To stay covered, healthcare facilities need to pay for insurance. If their insurance does not cover the cost of a negligence case, then it comes directly from the healthcare facility.
2. The legal fees
In addition to the cost of the settlement fees, there is the total cost of legal fees. When a healthcare facility goes to court to fight a negligence case, the cost can be high. Fighting a negligence case takes experienced lawyers, and those lawyers don’t come cheaply. Additionally, negligence cases can take months or years to resolve. If the facility does not settle, the legal fees can add up.
There’s also the fact that a healthcare facility needs to have lawyers at-the-ready to handle malpractice cases. Once again, this is just another fee to tack onto the cost of healthcare facilities.
3. The reputation of the healthcare industry
When people hear about negligence lawsuits, they think twice about seeking out medical help. As a result, healthcare facilities get fewer people coming in and less money. In order to combat the negative publicity that comes with a negligence lawsuit, the facilities need to embark on expensive public relations campaigns. They need teams of experts to know how to put the public at ease. If a facility goes through a malpractice lawsuit, it takes an excellent team of PR personnel to handle the problem.
A real-life example
Consider the case against Rhode Island Hospital. In Rhode Island’s largest negligence settlement ever, a jury delivered a verdict of $25.6 million to the plaintiff and his family. With interest added, the value rose to $31.5 million. During the case, the hospital admitted that seven of the doctors demonstrated negligence when caring for a man with head injuries. He left the hospital with serious permanent injuries. However, seven doctors and two nurses could have prevented his injuries from being so serious. They failed to do the necessary exams and missed critical signs about his worsening injuries.
As a result of the hospital’s negligence, the man’s brain swelled. This caused damage that cannot be reversed. For the rest of his life, the man will need permanent care. Even simple tasks like feeding are too much for him to handle.
Should you have faith in the healthcare industry?
While the healthcare industry is far from perfect, it does have protections in place to keep you safe. You don’t need to fear getting healthcare services. Instead, you can take comfort in knowing that medical malpractice is not common. And when it does occur, there are law firms who seek justice. If you are a victim of medical negligence, there are things that you can do to limit your suffering. An experienced lawyer can handle your case and file a successful malpractice suit.
There’s no reason to lose faith in your doctors. However, you should be cautious. Before you visit a doctor, do your due diligence. Make sure that the doctor has good reviews and is up to all the current standards. If you have any doubts, find another doctor. Negligence cans till occur. But if it does, you can do something about it. Contact a lawyer and you can file a medical malpractice claim.