Medical malpractice is a serious concern in today’s society. Medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider (doctor, hospital, nurse, nursing home) which deviates from the accepted standards of practice in the medical community. According to a study by Health Grades, 195,000 people in the United States died of preventable hospital errors between 2000 and 2002. In fact, more people died each year due to medical errors than from auto accidents, breast cancer, and AIDS combined.
In another seven year study released in 2003 by the government, medical errors are now the number one cause of death and injury in the United States. These studies contain many alarming statistics. For example, over two million people are injured each year by prescription drugs. Doctors prescribe over 20 million unnecessary antibiotics to people for viral infections. Millions more people are unnecessarily hospitalized or have unnecessary surgical procedures performed.
In spite of these alarming and ever growing statistics, medical malpractice cases are some of the most difficult cases for the injured victim to win. Studies show that medical professionals win in about 2/3 of all medical malpractice cases. People who are called to serve on a jury often have a very high opinion of doctors and it is often difficult to find one doctor who is willing to testify against another doctor. This is especially true in a small community or state where doctors will know one another or see each other at local conferences. Sometimes, it is necessary for the injured party’s lawyer to bring in doctors from other states, which can substantially drive up the cost of the case.Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases
In order to prove fault in a medical malpractice case, the injured party (plaintiff) must prove:
- A duty was owed to the patient by the medical provider
- The duty was breached – the health provider failed to follow the relevant standard of care
- The breach was the proximate cause of the injury
- The patient suffered damages
In recent years, the insurance industry has spent millions of dollars pushing states to enact special legislation to protect doctors. While the argument of the insurance industry is always the familiar theme of “stopping frivolous medical malpractice cases,” what insurance companies really want is to damage and take away the right to compensation for those people who are most seriously injured by medical errors.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in the Jackson, Mississippi area, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today to schedule a consultation.