The History of Medical Malpractice Law

The history of medical malpractice law in the U.S. is long and complex, but some shining moments truly shifted the tide. Medical professionals must adhere to ethics codes.

Here is more on the foundation of modern medical malpractice law.

The Beginning

The very first medical malpractice case in the United States took place in 1794. The plaintiff’s wife died at the hands of a doctor who claimed he performed a proper operation. The husband won the case, marking the beginning of medical malpractice law in the U.S. In the centuries since then, medical malpractice cases have increased, as have the number of lawyers working in this field of law.

Into the Courts

The state is usually the entity with authority over medical malpractice law as opposed to the federal government, so these cases are filed in a state trial court. Because of the division between all states, each jurisdiction has a slightly different way of handling various malpractice issues based on the history of local rulings. Though there is a foundational common law, the state legislature provides minor modifications.

Medical Malpractice Today

Standardization has made medical malpractice law today much different than how it was in the 1700s. All medical professionals interacting with patients should have protection from these cases. Whether you are a surgeon, pediatrician, or nurse practitioner, liability insurance is critical to safeguarding your career. Though it all began with one case, it is estimated that almost 17,000 medical malpractice cases are filed each year in this country. Malpractice law has even reached public view with celebrity cases like the ones of Michael Jackson, Julie Andrews, and Elvis Presley.

Understanding the history of medical malpractice law shows us how this type of litigation came to impact medical professionals in the United States. If you have any questions about medical malpractice or are looking for malpractice insurance options, contact us at Baxter & Associates today.