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Payouts rise in medical malpractice cases in 2013

Residents in Pennsylvania, as with those around the nation, must rely upon medical professionals to provide accurate, ethical treatment and care every day. While warranted much if not most of the time, the reality of medical errors does in fact also exist. After a failure to diagnose, a surgical error or some other act, the spread of disease, a worsened condition or even death can ensue. This can often leave patients or their loved ones looking for help.

From state to state, the laws governing medical malpractice vary greatly as do damage awards in such cases. Diedrich Healthcare recently released data showing some statistics for payouts in 2013 which saw an increase for the first time in 10 years. Non-trial judgments accounted for 96 percent of the awards. An article reporting on the information indicated that some doctors may hesitate to proceed to trial unless they are completely confident about winning, resulting in a high number of non-judgment awards.

The information was provided to the National Practitioner Data Bank and represented only those claims that were made against practitioners themselves. This excludes facilities such as hospitals or other clinics. The report also counted only demands that were made in writing indicating that some settlements reached via mediation result in verbal agreements.

If you believe that a negligent physician has delayed treatment or misdiagnosed cancer or some other condition, taking action may be necessary. You could consider talking to an attorney to get a professional view on your situation to make the best choice for you.

Source: Fobes, “The Puzzle of Medical Malpractice Payouts,” Michael Krauss, March 27, 2014

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