Tracking The Surge Of Medical Malpractice Cases Through 2020 To Date

Medical malpractice and negligence, in which a physician or hospital is responsible for the injury of a patient, has become increasingly prevalent over the past 18 months. Figures compiled by Stat News highlight that medical errors leading to death are now the third highest cause of death in the USA. With the onset of the pandemic, these cases have only risen. That being said, there are clear trends concerning medical malpractice that shine a light into why the situation is progressing as it is.

medcal malpractice

Reduced protections

Coronavirus was a complete unknown when it comes to diseases, and the healthcare system dealing with it was under immense strain. As a result, doctors were largely protected from medical malpractice claims, and disciplinary actions plummeted according to CNBC – a 16% decline since 2019. This, however, is starting to be rolled back. As coronavirus takes less precedence in the healthcare story, patients looking for malpractice help will be able to find greater recourse to justice as the status quo returns.

Changing the curve

Indeed, as protections have rolled back, medical malpractice claims are up. An analysis by WWMT highlights how claims have risen over 200% following sharp drops in the midpoint of last year, with certain states – such as Illinois – seeing 4% of all cases in elderly patients (over 70). Tellingly, these cases concern coronavirus cases as well as other medical issues. That points to a wholesale shift, and the general acceptance of all cases being included under medical malpractice once again.

Healthcare change

There is political controversy over this phenomenon, and it has been exemplified in Texas. As Local Profile highlights, Texas has the highest rate of medical malpractice cases in the country, but also the lowest rate of medical cover – 29% of adults have insufficient cover or no cover at all. This gap creates a huge field of potential care failures, typically where patients require care that they are not covered for. As medical care cover is expanded across the country to a greater degree, in line with federal priorities, this is an opportunity in some states to reduce negligence and malpractice case rates.

In the future, then, as the medical ecosystem settles down, there may be a concerted reduction in healthcare pressures. This will lead to greater rates of cover, less issues concerning potential negligence, and a more clear picture of where errors are occurring and need to be addressed.