Like anything else, medical malpractice trends have changed over the years. As medical malpractice lawyers, it is our job to stay on top of these trends to ensure that we are providing the best legal representation to our clients.
As medical malpractice attorneys in Seattle, we are seeing several medical malpractice trends in 2023, each with its own set of causes and implications. Below we discuss the top 5.
The average cost of medical malpractice awards has been steadily rising since awards were first tracked in 1976. Notably, there has been a sharp increase in outlier verdicts, which are awards well above common policy limits. These verdicts often set records for the venue in which they are made.
Nationwide, the percentage of medical malpractice claims exceeding $500,000 has risen from less than 10 percent in 1999 to almost 20 percent in 2017. The number of verdicts exceeding $25 million has also increased significantly.
Causes: The exact causes of this trend are complex and multifaceted. Factors such as changing legal precedents, evolving societal attitudes towards healthcare and healthcare providers, and high-profile cases might contribute to these increasingly large awards.
There has been a paradoxical situation where fewer medical malpractice cases are being filed, yet new defense firms continue to emerge. Larger firms are dissolving into multiple smaller entities, leading to intense competition among these firms to defend the remaining cases.
Causes: Economic factors, changes in legal practices, and evolving insurance structures could be contributing to this trend. Additionally, advancements in healthcare practices might be reducing the number of clear-cut malpractice cases.
Many experienced defense lawyers and leaders in the field have retired, leaving a gap in the expertise and relationships that were beneficial for efficient case resolution.
Causes: Natural retirement cycles, changing career aspirations among lawyers, and shifts in the legal landscape can lead to leadership changes.
With the retirement of seasoned lawyers, younger defense attorneys often lack significant trial experience, especially in larger cases.
Causes: Limited exposure to complex cases during their early careers, coupled with the trend of settling cases before they reach trial, could result in a lack of trial experience among younger lawyers.
The overall cost of litigating medical malpractice cases has increased, primarily due to rising expenses associated with experts, court fees, and trial technology.
Causes: Specialized expert witnesses, essential for medical malpractice cases, often charge high fees. The increasing complexity of healthcare practices and the need for experts in highly specialized fields contribute significantly to the rising costs of litigation.
These trends have come about from a mix of legal, economic, and societal factors and a good medical malpractice law firm will be on top of them. Look for an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who stays on top of medical malpractice trends and has the expertise you need to build a strong case and fight for full and fair compensation for your losses.
The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side
The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.
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