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Who pays for the costs associated with medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Major advances in medical science have generally boosted public faith in the healthcare system. Patients usually expect that doctors have access to laboratories and testing equipment to diagnose them. They trust that hospitals will have the newest and best equipment available, as well as professionals trained on how to properly use that equipment. Many people think that medical malpractice is a thing of the past due to scientific advances and the corporatization of medicine.

Sadly, medical malpractice can occur in even the most modern medical settings. Physicians fail to follow best practices or provide negligent patient care in hospitals, emergency rooms and office settings. When a doctor does not conform to current standards, the care that they provide could actually harm their patients.

Some doctors order the wrong treatment, while others make mistakes while administering anesthesia. Medical malpractice can cause massive harm to the patient involved. They may experience significant medical decline, which in turn generates a large amount of medical bills. They may spend longer recovering and lose out on income for weeks longer because of a medical mistake. Who generally covers the costs that arise due to a case of medical malpractice?

Patients shouldn’t absorb those losses

Provided that a situation truly constitutes medical malpractice, the patient involved should not have to accept all of the consequences on their own. Both injured patients and those who lose a loved one to malpractice may file a civil lawsuit. Some people worry about taking legal action because they don’t want to directly harm the doctor who provided the medical care. Filing a lawsuit is reasonable in a malpractice scenario and typically will not cause direct financial loss for a specific individual.

The vast majority of medical professionals, including physicians, are employees who work for medical corporations. Although they may be personally responsible for the malpractice, their employer likely has vicarious liability for the situation. Simply put, the hospital or medical practice is often legally and financially culpable in most medical malpractice scenarios. Every individual physician and medical business carries malpractice insurance. That policy will typically be what compensates someone for the expenses generated by a major medical failure. If concerns about this approach arise, litigation may be necessary.

Individuals who understand that they almost certainly won’t cause direct financial harm to a medical professional if they seek just compensation may feel more comfortable pursuing compensation after a diagnostic failure, surgical error or other medical malpractice scenario.