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Spinal surgery malpractice statistics

The Spine Journal recently published a study that tracked medical malpractice cases involving spinal surgery between 2010 and 2014. Of the 103 lawsuits during that time frame that were listed in the WestlawNext databases, the following statistics were identified, with adjusted values for 2016 inflation:

  • Seventy-five percent of the cases ended in favor of the spinal surgeon.
  • The average settlement of cases where the plaintiff won and the case was heard by a jury was $4.9 million.
  • The average settlement of cases where the plaintiff won was $2.3 million.
  • Cases that involved nerve injury and orthopedic surgeons had much larger awards.
  • Informed consent was missing in 34 percent of cases. The average compensation in those cases was $2 million.
  • Cases that involved intraoperative complaints averaged $3.6 million in compensation.
  • Lower compensation was associated with wrong level surgeries.
  • Cases that ended in favor of the plaintiff took an average of 4.34 years. Those that ended in favor of the defense to 5.5 years on average.

The study authors concluded by saying, "Surgeons can protect themselves and optimize care of patients through clear and documented patient communication, education and intraoperative vigilance to avoid preventable complications."

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury that was worsened because of an orthopedic surgeon's error, you have a right to seek compensation. This includes compensation for additional surgeries that may be needed, pain and suffering, loss of movement, disfigurement and more. An experienced attorney can provide you with more information on your legal options, such as how much to seek in compensation and what additional procedures were needed to correct the errors.

Source: Becker's Spine Review, "Print E-mail 7 trends in spine surgery malpractice cases — 75% found in favor of surgeons," Laura Dyrda, July 05, 2017

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