Medical malpractice lawsuits are an increasingly common way for patients to seek justice when harmed by a healthcare provider's negligence or mistake. However, pursuing such legal action is not without risks. It can be a lengthy and costly process that may result in little or no compensation for the patient. On the other hand, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can also bring attention to important issues within the healthcare industry, hold providers accountable for their actions, and provide closure for patients and their families who have suffered harm. In this blog, we will explore the benefits and risks of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for your situation.
The Risks and Benefits of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
When considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, weighing the potential benefits and risks is essential. Filing a malpractice lawsuit may be the only way that many injured patients can hold the medical industry accountable while possibly recouping financial compensation for damages. Risks can also accompany every choice that has benefits. Considering the entire picture before deciding whether to pursue litigation is important. This section will explore some of the potential benefits and risks of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Benefits of Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
For healthcare providers, every procedure carries the risk of a medical malpractice lawsuit. For victims, filing a lawsuit is a serious undertaking, and it should be pursued with a clear understanding of the process and what you’re working to accomplish.
If your medical malpractice claim is successful, there are several benefits that could make the challenging experience more worthwhile, such as:
- A successful malpractice suit can lead to system-wide and local improvements in patient safety and quality of care.
- Closure for patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors.
- It brings attention to systemic issues within the healthcare industry that need to be addressed.
Even if the process of filing and pursuing a malpractice lawsuit is stressful, there are benefits that can lead to important improvements and changes within the medical field. When a lawsuit is filed, it often prompts healthcare providers and facilities to reevaluate their practices and make necessary changes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. These lawsuits provide patients and their families with closure and the satisfaction that comes from knowing the person responsible for their injuries is being held accountable. Being harmed by medical errors is a serious issue that can lead to long-term pain and stress. If your lawsuit can bring attention to systemic issues within the healthcare industry, that could be a powerful reason to pursue litigation.
The Risks Associated with Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Just as there are benefits to consider, there are also risks associated with medical malpractice lawsuits. Before deciding whether to move forward with a lawsuit, it’s important to weigh these risks. Filing a lawsuit could be too expensive to make the process worth any potential benefit.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit carries risks, such as:
- Costs: A malpractice lawsuit can be costly in terms of time and resources spent defending oneself in court.
- Long-Term Consequences: Whether a mistake is minor or significant, a malpractice suit could irreparably damage a healthcare provider's reputation. Even if the lawsuit is ultimately dismissed or settled out of court, filing a malpractice case could have long-term consequences.
- Damaging Practices and Regulations: A malpractice suit can contribute to the adoption of defensive medicine practices. Healthcare providers could decide to order unnecessary tests or procedures out of fear of being sued.
Just as successful malpractice lawsuits can contribute to the betterment of the medical community’s procedures and practices, there could also be defensive medicine practices instituted because of malpractice litigation. Healthcare providers may respond to litigation by incorporating unnecessary tests or procedures out of fear of being sued. This leads to not only increased costs for patients but also potentially harmful over-treatment. While it’s important for healthcare providers to take steps to minimize the risk of being sued for medical malpractice, it shouldn’t adversely impact patients.
Malpractice Cases Play an Important Role in the Medical Community
In a retrospective case-control study, researchers found that physicians with prior paid medical malpractice claims were three to four times more likely to have future claims, challenging the common belief that malpractice claims are bad luck or random. The study also revealed that one prior-period claim was associated with a 3.1 times higher likelihood of a future-period claim for high-risk specialties and a 4.2 times higher likelihood for lower-risk specialties. Furthermore, the risk of a future-period claim was 3.7 times higher for physicians with one prior-period claim, 6.7 times higher for those with two prior-period claims, and 11.2 times higher for those with three or more prior-period claims compared to physicians with no prior-period claims. While there are benefits and risks to pursuing a malpractice claim, they play an important role in keeping the medical community safe from bad actors and dangerous practitioners.
Call the Team at Turner Law Group
While medical malpractice lawsuits can have benefits and risks, they are important in promoting patient safety and holding healthcare providers accountable for providing quality care. By taking proactive measures to minimize the risk of being sued, healthcare providers can focus on what matters most – providing excellent care for their patients. If you’ve been injured from a medical procedure but aren’t sure if a medical malpractice lawsuit is a right choice for you, call (800) 653-0198 to schedule a case review with our legal team.