The Erie article was reporting on a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine . The study reported that 80% of medical malpractice cases fail to produce a payment to the injured party. That’s an astonishing medical malpractice failure rate when considering that almost all cases are first reviewed by independent physicians to certify that the case has merit and further considering that no medical malpractice lawyer in his or her right mind would knowingly invest time and money in a frivolous case.
The New England Journal of Medicine study actually acknowledges evidence that at least 60% of the filed claims involved known medical errors. What does this mean? If the study authors accept that 60% of filed claims involve actual malpractice but only 20% of filed claims result in payment then at least 40% of patients who file claims and who were legitimately wronged were denied justice.
And these numbers don’t even begin to scratch the surface of medical malpractice injustice. As the Erie Times noted, an influential study on the subject of medical malpractice demonstrated that only a tiny fraction of patients harmed by medical errors ever file suit. All of which means that there are countless patients and their families who are entitled to some measure of compensation for harm that could and should have been avoided but who will never receive justice because they never sought a legal consultation.
No Medical Malpractice Crisis
The story might have been given its breathless headline because the editors were surprised by the notion that doctors and hospitals win most medical malpractice cases. After all, the media isn’t immune from the constant myth that doctors and health insurance are suffering from a medical malpractice crisis. Contrary to the common perception that doctors are sued over nothing and juries give big verdicts to undeserving plaintiffs, the truth is that even when plaintiffs have good cases, they often lose to juries who are worried about hurting doctors and, even when they win, the verdicts are often small.
As a consequence, lawyers are taking fewer cases. As one of the study authors noted, “A lawyer would have to be an idiot to take a frivolous case to court.” Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys are accepting only those cases where the injuries are catastrophic and the liability almost indisputably clear.
We Can Help
At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers recognize the challenges faced by people who’ve suffered injury or loss as a result of medical mistakes. We perform a thorough investigation at the outset of a case using leading experts in the relevant medical field to help us ensure that the case is built solidly from the ground up. If you would like a free consultation with one of our experienced Erie medical malpractice lawyers, call today at 814-833-7100 or toll free at 814-833-7100.