Some studies on hospital deaths indicated that at least 44,000 and up to 98,000 Americans die every year in hospitals due to medical errors. However, a 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety showed that this number has nearly tripled in the decades since, with an estimated 210,000 Americans dying every year due to preventable harm in hospitals. Further, with COVID-19 and the overloading of hospitals with patients needing treatment, many more Americans are now suddenly at risk of experiencing medical malpractice. But what is medical malpractice, and how do these kinds of claims work?
What Is Medical Malpractice in New Hampshire?
Medical malpractice is commonly thought to be when healthcare providers harm their patients by providing substandard or incompetent care. In New Hampshire, a medical malpractice claim involves (1) establishing the standard of reasonable professional practice in the medical provider’s specialty, (2) the medical provider failed to act in accordance with that standard, and (3) the patient suffered injuries as a result of the provider’s acts or omissions. This typically means a “medical error” has occurred, which is when a medical institution or practitioner either uses the wrong plan during treatment or fails to complete the correct plan as intended. There are many different kinds of medical error that can rise to the level of malpractice, but some of the main types of error are:
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
These kinds of issues go beyond mere disappointment with the work of a medical professional, establish liability because the medical professional made mistakes that caused their work to fall below the appropriate standard of care.
How Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Work?
Like most civil cases, most plaintiffs file suit against healthcare providers to recover “damages,” or monetary compensation for the different kinds of harm that they’ve suffered. Some states also have a “recovery cap,” limiting the amount of money that plaintiffs can receive as damages in their medical malpractice action, though New Hampshire has no such limit. Medical malpractice suits are also very uncommon overall, when looking at the amount of medical malpractice incidents that occur. Only around 2% of the victims of medical malpractice ever file a lawsuit, and of those lawsuits only around 7% eventually go to trial. Most medical malpractice lawsuits are settled outside of court.If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you need counsel on your side who understands medical malpractice claims. The attorneys at Douglas, Leonard, & Garvey can be reached at (603) 288-1403 or through our online contact form.