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More about medical malpractice settlements

Arizona patients may benefit from learning more about a study that recently reviewed existing trends among medical malpractice lawsuits. Researchers discovered that the majority of the settlements included various nondisclosure provisions, some which actually impose restrictions beyond the scope of improving health care for patients. The study involved reviewing settled malpractice cases from over 6,000 physicians. According to the researchers, there were nondisclosure clauses included in 90 percent of the final settlements.

The lead author of the study described the current health care system as being well-intentioned in attempts to be transparent and fair. He also noted that those operating within the constructs of the system only face a small risk of litigation. However, the researchers did observe a trend of behavior exhibiting secrecy and silence associated with medical errors. During the three increments of time totaling six years, there were 150 settlements made from the 715 claims in the University of Texas hospital system.

The average amount reached in the settlement negotiations reviewed in the study was around $185,000. The range for the settlements paid by the university was between $500 and over $1.2 million. Each of the 110 settlements including nondisclosure provisions prohibited patients from discussing the terms and amount exchanged. More than 50 percent of these agreements also prohibited the patients from divulging that a settlement had even been reached.

Patients who have been injured as a result of a misdiagnosis or other medical negligence may benefit from consulting legal counsel. A medical malpractice attorney might be able to investigate the incident and gather enough evidence to identify which parties failed to follow the appropriate standard of care and are responsible for the patient's injuries. Plaintiffs in these cases are often awarded restitution to help account for rehabilitation costs, corrective procedures and loss of income associated with the medical error.

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