While there is a constant suggestion in the media that doctors are facing a barrage of medical malpractice lawsuits, often frivolous, the actual numbers paint a bit of a different picture.
At least in the state of Michigan, people do not get hefty payouts for medical malpractice claims, at least relative to other states. By dividing the total dollar value of claims paid by the number of Michigan residents, one study concluded that, per resident, around $5 got paid for medical malpractice claims between 2012 and 2016.
By way of comparison, the state with the largest payout per resident came in at $36.
Admittedly, Michigan residents do file claims for medical malpractice at a rate slightly higher than average, having about 40 claims filed per 1 million residents of the state. Again though, the states with highest volume of medical malpractice claims had rates ranging from about 60 claims per 1 million residents to about 85 claims per 1 million residents.
In any event, medical malpractice is very prevalent in this country, with some claiming it is the third leading cause of death in the nation. Nevertheless, only 17,000 lawsuits get filed annually, which is somewhat surprising.
There are number of reasons for this. Sometimes, victims simply do not know how to find an attorney to represent them or do not know how they will afford one. In other cases, the victim may feel sorry for the medical professional who made the mistake or may just not want to go through the process of filing a claim. Although these sentiments are understandable, sometimes a medical malpractice case is the best or even only means to get necessary financial help.