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New study shows complexity of medical malpractice cases in Tennessee

The comptroller of the Treasury of Tennessee recently released a study to members of the state legislature. Entitled Tennessee Trial Courts Judicial Weighted Caseload Study, 2013, the report details how state judges spend their time. The report is an update to the last Tennessee weighted caseload study, which was conducted in 2007.

The full report is over 30 pages long, filled with many details that are more relevant to legislators than laypeople. However, it does contain some valuable kernels of information, including some that could be relevant to those considering a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice lawsuits took more time than any other type of case

In total, for fiscal year 2013, there were 385 medical malpractice cases filed in Tennessee courts. This represented a very small proportion of the total cases filed in Tennessee courts: just .18 percent of all Tennessee trial court filings (including both civil and criminal cases) were medical malpractice cases.

Yet, while medical malpractice cases accounted for less than one percent of total filings, Tennessee judges spent 3.83 percent of their time on these cases. This significant disparity reflects the complexity of medical malpractice cases.

Of the nearly four percent of time judges spent on medical malpractice cases, the bulk of it – 2.45 percent – was dedicated to trial work. However, pretrial work should not be discounted: judges spent more than a third of their time in medical malpractice cases handling pretrial matters. Post trial issues, on the other hand, took up hardly any of the judges’ time in medical malpractice cases.

On average, each medical malpractice case took up 1,320 minutes – 22 hours – of a judge’s time. This was higher than the average for any other type of case. Even first degree murder cases, which came in second, only took 776 minutes of a judge’s time on average.

An experienced lawyer is essential if you have been harmed by medical malpractice

The human body is a complicated machine. One moment of carelessness by a health care provider can lead to serious consequences, and explaining this chain of causation to a judge or jury takes time and expertise.

The new weighted caseload study makes it abundantly clear that medical malpractice suits are some of the most complex cases handled in Tennessee courtrooms. If you believe you may have been harmed by a negligent medical practitioner, it is critically important to retain the services of a lawyer with tested medical malpractice case experience. Get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice attorney today to explore legal solutions that may be available to you.