How common are medical malpractice lawsuits?

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The numbers are troubling. Recent studies claim that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The first two causes of death are heart disease and cancer.

If medical negligence is such a problem, shouldn’t we all know dozens of people who are filing medical malpractice suits? In fact, only 17,000 malpractice cases are recorded in the United States each year. Why aren’t there more cases? There are a variety of reasons.

You don’t know a lawyer

Perhaps you don’t sue for medical negligence or wrongful death because you do not know whom to contact. Even though you can find an attorney by Googling medical malpractice lawyer and the name of your state medical malpractice lawyer or medical malpractice lawyer(s), you may be hesitant to trust your case with an attorney you don’t know. Even if you have a valid malpractice case, you may shy away from dealing with aggressive lawyers who have dollar signs in their eyes.

You don’t have money for a lawyer

Another reason people don’t sue for medical negligence is that they feel that hiring an attorney would be expensive. If you have already lost work as a result of a medical issue, you may not have the necessary cash to put an attorney on retainer for your case. And then what happens with your finances when you don’t win your lawsuit?

You like your doctor

Perhaps you do not want to sue your doctor for medical negligence because you like your doctor. Elderly patients often become very attached to their doctors. They look up to their doctors and believe everything their doctors say.

You aren’t litigious

Maybe you have read headlines in the past few years about ridiculous lawsuits that tie up the legal system. You roll your eyes when people get huge settlements as a result of being injured by hot coffee. You become angry when you read that someone brought suit when she fell down a flight of stairs after seeing a scary ad for a TV show. Maybe you don’t want to sue your doctor because you aren’t the type of person who does that.

You don’t want to go through the hassle or work

Another reason a person may not sue for medical malpractice is that you don’t want to find a lawyer, schedule an appointment, find all the appropriate paperwork to back up your story, and fill out forms.

You don’t want to have to testify at a trial

Maybe you have a valid reason to file malpractice or wrongful death suit, but you don’t want to have to testify during a trial. Public speaking is one of the biggest fears people face.

Some of the reasons you do not want to sue for malpractice may be valid, but some are not. Many lawyers would not expect payment for a malpractice suit unless they win your case. Perhaps you would not be required to testify in a courtroom.

The fact is that if you suffered because your doctor did not perform his or her job correctly. If you don’t call attention to these actions, your doctor may do the same thing to someone else. Is that something you can live with?

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