Studies have found that many cases of medical malpractice go unreported. Of those that do get reported, the plaintiffs are left with a less than satisfactory result. The primary reason for both of these findings is that a plethora of medical malpractice misconceptions exist in the psyche of the common American. Many of these myths hold victims back from filing a lawsuit or from revealing all of the necessary facts for a healthy settlement or judgment. Following are some of the most common malpractice misconceptions:
Misconception 1 – It is only necessary to prove negligence.
This is the leading misconception in malpractice suits. While negligence is a large part of the lawsuit, it is really only one of the four elements that must be proven in the case. The first element that must be proven is that the medical professional had a duty to treat you in the first place. Doctors and other healthcare workers do not necessarily have a duty to perform medical procedures in every case. Negligence is the second element. The third element of the case is injury. The negligence must result in an injury. Finally, the injury must have caused some type of damages, which can be physical, emotional or financial.
Misconception 2 – Only doctors can commit malpractice.
Many people believe malpractice only pertains to physicians or surgeons. This is completely untrue. Any medical professional charged with treating or caring for you can commit malpractice. This includes nurses, medical assistants, anesthesiologists and radiologists, amongst others.
Misconception 3 – Medical malpractice suits result in increased healthcare costs.
This is a misconception that is shared not only be patients, but by doctors and other healthcare practitioners alike. The truth of the matter is that studies have conclusively proven no link between higher rates of medical malpractice suits and higher medical costs. Victims of malpractice should never feel shamed or feel they are committing a sin against society for filing a malpractice suit.
Misconception 4 – Medical malpractice suits are frivolous.
Many people believe that malpractice suits are without merit. This is completely false. Because medical malpractice is much more difficult to prove than other types of personal injury cases, almost all cases that are accepted by an attorney are for legitimate damages that have been caused to a patient through negligence.
Misconception 5 – It is too expensive to sue for malpractice.
It is true that malpractice cases can be expensive. However, almost all medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that the patient has absolutely zero upfront medical costs. All costs and attorneys’ fees are paid out of the final judgment or settlement. This fact also goes back to support the truth of Misconception 4. Because attorneys are working on expensive malpractice suits on a contingency basis they can’t afford to accept frivolous suits.