According to statistics, the number of medical malpractice claims which get paid has been steadily on the decline since they peaked in 2001. For example, in 2017, and among all medical professionals, there were just over 10,000 paid claims. In 1991, the number was much closer to 20,000.
Likewise, particularly when adjusted for inflation, the total dollar amount paid to resolve medical malpractice claims has fallen steadily, going from over $6 billion in 2001 down to under $4 billion in 2017.
On the other hand, the statistics also suggest that when doctors and other professionals are messing up, they are messing up big time. The number of high-dollar claims, that is, over $500,000, has risen considerably over time, from over 1,000 in 1991 to over 2,500 in 2017. Likewise, the amount paid on these sorts of claims has skyrocketed, from just over $1 billion total in 1991 to about $2.5 billion two years ago.
What this means for patients in Northern Georgia and their families is that it seems it may be getting less likely for doctors to make relatively minor mistakes, that is, those that may mean a longer stay in the hospital or some ongoing discomfort. Of course, this is good news since even minor medical errors can cause major financial and emotional trouble for victims.
However, the bad news is that doctors and other professionals seem more prone to making catastrophic medical errors that can cost patients their lives or, at best, their ability to lead a healthy, productive life without a disability. Particularly in these sorts of cases, having the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney is often important.