Florida’s infants, considered newborn to one year of age, are suffering from alleged medical malpractice at a rate approximately 30 percent higher than the rest of the nation, according to a recent study by Justpoint, Inc., located in New York. The study also indicates Florida’s one to-nine-year-olds are suffering medical malpractice at a rate of approximately 10% higher than any other state.
These statistics are among a growing stockpile of artificial intelligence-based studies the firm has been conducting state by state since its inception in September 2018. The company promotes itself as the country’s first AI-based medical malpractice attorney referral service, revolutionizing the industry through technology.
“The question we have is, why is this happening in Florida?” said Justpoint’s Chief Executive Officer, Victor Bornstein. “We should know in about 90 days.” The firm’s goal is to produce better matching results as medical malpractice claimants seek an attorney to represent them.
The firm’s artificial intelligence-based study, which analyzed 300,000 nationwide medical malpractice cases, reveals the preliminary causes of Florida’s infant and young-child negative medical experiences. The number one cause is treatment-related problems, followed by erroneous diagnoses, surgery-related mistakes, medication issues, anesthesia issues, and patient monitoring problems. In all of these specific cause-related categories, Florida leads the nation in infant and young-child legal complaints. But the firm is also scrutinizing the state’s medical industry operating behind the scenes. Is the Sunshine State experiencing age-based case overload, less-qualified physicians and surgeons, a shortage of medical professionals, poor hospital or physician performance, or other reasons that produce such poor results?
Bornstein said Justpoint intends to analyze each states’ lawsuits on a much more comprehensive basis. For example, he said, “With infants, medication problems could be related to over-dosing, under-dosing or issuing the wrong prescription. Eventually, we will go deeper.” He also said Florida is the first state to be analyzed in greater detail.
As with other age groups, exceptionally young Floridians’ legal cases experience firewalls designed to lower the compensation awarded to them and make it harder to find attorneys who will represent them.
“When Florida’s people come to us to receive an attorney referral, they’ve already reached out to two times as many attorneys compared to people from other states,” Bornstein said.
Study results also show that 65% of Florida claimants who contact Justpoint couldn’t find an attorney to take their case, compared to a nationwide average of 57%. The reason for so many legal turn-downs is that many Florida hospitals have placed a cap on Plaintiff awards. Further, Florida physicians are not required to carry medical malpractice insurance, according to Bornstein, and based thus far on anecdotal evidence, if they are sued, they have already transferred their assets to family members to avoid financial losses. Attorneys often find they cannot economically afford to litigate many medical malpractice cases in such a financially strapped environment. High-volume, heavily-advertised law firms receive many calls for assistance, but accept fewer cases due to Florida’s liberal stance on hospital and physician requirements and their own business costs to advertise. They look for cases worth over $1 Million. The result is Florida’s more typical medical malpractice claimants – if they find legal representation – are awarded an average of only $300,000 compared to the national average of $450,000. Their cases, however, are settled one year quicker than the rest of the nation.
Justpoint’s attorney referrals are made based on an examination of which attorneys have proven they get the highest awards, according to a claimant’s lawsuit category. Bornstein said other firms provide low-tech referrals based on an attorney’s geographic convenience for the victim, and areas of specialty in which they work.
“We are the first service on the Plaintiff’s side that has access to lawyers’ actual settlement amounts,” Bornstein said. The firm gleans information from public and insurance company records.