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Diagnostic mistakes leading cause of malpractice claims

Each year, some New Jersey residents are seriously injured because of medical errors that are made when they go to hospitals or to their doctors' offices for care. One of the most frequently occurring types is diagnostic mistakes.

According to a medical malpractice insurance provider, diagnostic errors were the leading cause of claims for medical malpractice between 2013 and 2017. the insurer found that 33 percent of the malpractice claims were made based on diagnostic mistakes. The second-most common form of medical malpractice was surgical errors at 24 percent of the claims. Medical management errors came in third at 14 percent.

Coverys reviewed 10,618 claims that were filed between 2013 and 2017. Diagnostic errors led to the deaths of the patients in 36 percent of the claims, and 36 percent of the diagnostic errors happened in outpatient settings. More than half of the diagnostic error claims involved mistakes with lab tests, including doctors ordering the wrong tests, failing to complete the tests properly or reading them incorrectly. Radiologists made up 14 percent of the diagnostic error claims.

Medical negligence can cause serious injuries or deaths to patients. People who are injured and the families of patients who are killed because of medical malpractice may want to consult with personal injury lawyers who handle malpractice claims. The attorneys may review the medical records of the patients in order to determine whether or not the injuries or fatalities likely were caused by medical mistakes. If they agree to accept the claims, they may work closely with medical experts so that they can build strong cases for their clients. The lawyers may be able to secure reasonable settlements for their clients through negotiations with the insurance companies, or they may advocate for their clients at jury trials.

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