More than half of medical malpractice cases go to litigation, according to a 2012 study. But many cases are dismissed, or the sides reach a settlement regarding medical malpractice damages before a trial verdict. Each case varies based upon the standard of care provided by the doctor or hospital. However, most cases involve facts where the provider disputes they have committed malpractice, and thus a trial is necessary to determine whether the appropriate standards were met.
How often do medical malpractice cases involve litigation?
JAMA Internal Medicine published a study in 2012 that reported the outcomes of medical malpractice court cases. The findings showed that 55.2 percent of claims examined between 2002 and 2005 that involved costs to the defense went to litigation. The number of claims that involved litigation varied somewhat, depending upon the medical speciality involved.
- Anesthesiologists – claims against anesthesiologists went to court in 46.7 percent of cases.
- OBGYNs – claims against obstetricians and gynecologists went to court in 62.6 percent of cases.
- Internists and medicine-based subspecialists – claims against internists and medicine-based subspecialists went to court in 53.5 percent of cases.
However, in many cases, a settlement was reached prior to undergoing a trial verdict. A trial verdict was reached in 4.5 percent of the cases.
The Results of Medical Malpractice Court Cases
The aforementioned study in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that of the cases that do involve litigation, the courts dismiss 54 percent. Approximately 61 percent of cases involving internists and medicine-based subspecialists were dismissed on the high end of the spectrum, and 37 percent of cases against pathologists were dismissed. When cases are decided by a jury, the defendant wins 80 to 90 percent of the time if there is weak evidence, 70 percent of the time is the evidence is debatable, and 50 percent of the time if there is strong evidence of medical negligence, according to a 2009 study in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.
A Harvard School of Public Health study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that 73 percent of patients who were harmed as a result of a medical error – as determined by trained physician reviewers – wound up receiving compensation in their cases. The average settlement amount in claims involving medical errors in 2006 was $521,560 according to the Harvard School of Public Health study. Researchers found that 54 percent of claimants’ settlements covered administrative costs.
Medical Malpractice Court Cases are Lengthy
When the case cannot be settled and must go to court, the legal process will take a substantial amount of time to complete. The longer it takes to reach an agreement, the longer the process is dragged out.
The 2012 JAMA Internal Medicine study reported the following.
- Cases that went to court but were dismissed took an average of 20 months.
- Cases that went to court but were resolved before a verdict took an average of 28.5 months.
- Cases that were decided by a jury with a verdict in favor of the defendant took 39 months.
- Cases that were decided by a jury with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff took an average of 43.5 months.
Discuss a Medical Malpractice Court Case with an Attorney in Cleveland
If you have a medical malpractice case, discuss your situation with an attorney in your area. For a medical malpractice firm in Cleveland, contact Ryan, LLP. We have more than 50 years of combined experience in helping clients pursue claims and secure settlements for medical malpractice. Call us today at 877-864-9495 or contact us online.