Atlanta vs. U.S. Medical Malpractice Statistics

Empowering Patients with Insight: Atlanta and U.S. Medical Malpractice Statistics with Dressie Law Firm

Find out how Atlanta’s medical malpractice statistics compare to the national average. To learn more, contact the Dressie Law Firm.

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Understanding Medical Malpractice Statistics

Did you know medical errors cause between 65,000 and 200,000 deaths per year in the United States? This is more than deaths from car crashes (approximately 42,000 per year) or workplace accidents (approximately 5,000 per year). Of these medical error deaths, estimates indicate 25,000 to 120,000 are specifically due to medical malpractice or negligence.

Medical malpractice refers to negligent acts by medical professionals, especially providing medical treatment that deviates from the accepted standard of care, causing harm or death to a patient.

Medical malpractice reporting has become a crucial tool for healthcare accountability and patient advocacy. Between 1990 and June 30, 2023, over 1.5 million adverse action reports and medical malpractice compensation payments were documented by the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Georgia has one of the nation’s lowest average medical malpractice settlement amounts. It also has a relatively low number of malpractice reports per capita compared to other states. Below, we will look more closely at the story the numbers tell about the medical malpractice situation in Georgia and across the U.S.

If you need an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney, Dressie Law Firm is here for you. We have been helping medical malpractice and personal injury victims in Georgia for over 20 years and recovered $30,000,000 in damages. We can help you.

    Most Recent Medical Malpractice Statistics in Georgia and the U.S.

    Medical malpractice is a relatively common occurrence throughout the United States. However, the number of malpractice cases reported annually and the amount of compensation can vary greatly from state to state.

    Medical Malpractice Across the United States

    According to data from the Civil Justice Group (CJG), about 8 to 10 of every 1,000 patients in the U.S. will experience malpractice issues. National Practitioner Data Bank statistics show that between 2019 and 2023, 46,209 medical malpractice payments were reported nationally, with over $17 billion in compensation paid.

    Additionally, while official data claims that medical malpractice causes 65,000 to 200,000 deaths every year, the actual number of injuries and deaths is likely much higher. In 2016, a John Hopkins report revealed that the number of deaths annually may be over 400,000.

    The exact number of injuries and deaths caused by medical malpractice nationwide continues to be elusive due to underreporting. However, it is estimated to be four times higher than the reported numbers.

    Medical Malpractice in Georgia

    Between 2012 and 2022, Georgia recorded the tenth-highest number of medical malpractice reports in the United States. Over this 10-year period, Georgia residents filed 2,994 lawsuits for medical negligence. This equaled a total of 8.06 reports of malpractice for every 10,000 residents.

    By comparison, New York had the highest number over this same time period, with 19.03 reports for every 10,000 residents. This equated to a total of 15,951 medical malpractice reports.

    Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

    Medical malpractice can result from different types of errors. This can include poor communication between medical staff or failure to adhere to hospital policies and protocols.

    The first step in your medical malpractice case is understanding the cause of the injury. This will help you know who is liable for the injury or wrongful death. Hospitals can also be held accountable for creating unsafe conditions by failing to perform routine maintenance or hiring unqualified staff.

    Medical errors, according to the Briefing Book by CJG, commonly occur during the following treatments and procedures:

    • Diagnostic errors: Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice injuries. Patients can be harmed when a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis leads to inappropriate or delayed treatments. Diagnostic errors account for 40,000-80,000 reported deaths annually. Moreover, studies show that these errors affect about 1 in 20 adults in outpatient settings and around 1 in 18 emergency department patients each year.

    • Surgical procedures: Surgical malpractice claims account for nearly a quarter of all medical malpractice claims. Surgical errors include wrong-site surgeries, incorrect procedures, or errors in the surgical process causing significant harm or complications. Annually, an estimated 500 surgeries are performed on the wrong body part, and 5,000 surgical items are left in patients’ bodies. Additionally, studies show that when a communication breakdown caused a surgical injury, 34% resulted in a serious injury, and 14% resulted in death.

    • Medication administration: Errors in prescribing, administering, or managing medications can result in a number of adverse effects or worsening of the patient’s condition. These errors are the third most common cause of medical malpractice claims, accounting for about 24.5% of paid claims.

    • Other errors: Medical errors can occur at almost any point during care. Some other notable causes of medical errors include inadequate aftercare and complications during labor and delivery.

    Whatever the case, our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine the cause of your injury, damages, and the compensation you can recover.

    Common Outcomes of Medical Malpractice Cases

    Injuries from medical malpractice are a serious and prevalent issue. Unfortunately, victims do not always receive adequate compensation for their suffering.

    Statistics show that doctors and hospitals avoid paying for about 80% of the economic losses caused by medical errors. Additionally, 70% of damages awarded by juries are reduced by the court.

    The numbers in Georgia tell a similar story. Between 2012 and 2022, Georgia’s reported payouts were the third lowest in the nation despite a high number of reported medical malpractice claims. More recent data from the National Practitioner Data Bank data analysis tool showed 1,316 settlements between 2019 and 2023, totaling over $655 million in compensation.

    One reason for these lower payouts may be because Georgia law caps punitive damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000. Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment to the defendant, not as compensation to the plaintiff, and exceptions to this cap are limited.

    Georgia Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases

    If you want to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations establishes a strict timeframe for filing a claim. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years.

    Under OCGA § 9-3-71, a medical negligence case must be filed within two years from the date of injury or within two years from the date you should reasonably have discovered the injury. Ultimately, medical negligence cases cannot be brought more than five years after the date the wrongful act occurred.

    Why You Should Choose Dressie Law Firm

    Medical malpractice litigation is complex and stressful. An experienced attorney at Dressie Law Firm can help. Our proven success in handling malpractice cases highlights our commitment to seeking justice for those affected by medical negligence. We diligently assess losses to maximize the value of each case and ensure our clients receive comprehensive representation.

    Dressie Law Firm’s client-centric philosophy fosters open and honest communication. By prioritizing our clients’ needs, we maximize financial compensation and address the personal losses caused by medical malpractice.

    Reach out now for a free consultation. 

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!