Thousands of patients are harmed each year by substandard medical care. Whether a doctor or nurse was inadequately trained or made a mistake, you should not have to suffer the consequences without due compensation for your injuries.
Although many medical procedures involve risk or could be subject to complications, a preventable or negligent mistake isn’t one of them. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death, with medical errors causing nearly 200,000 deaths across the country each year.
Don’t pay the price of medical malpractice. If a health care provider didn’t follow the proper protocol, resulting in injury or even death, you and your family are owed recovery for medical mistakes. In 2012 alone, medical malpractice claims cost healthcare providers about $3 billion in payouts to patients. Whether you are pursuing a claim against a hospital or a physician, for wrongful death or for compensation for medical bills, you can trust a qualified medical malpractice lawyer to fight for the recovery you deserve.
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider doesn’t follow accepted standards of practice or treatment. Whether the medical error was a result of negligence or an act of omission, the patient could be subject to injury or even death. Few things can cause as much harm as a medical error – and not just because patients trust their doctors and hospitals to treat them with the highest standard of care.
Medical malpractice can occur in many stages of care. The first is the treatment phase, in which a medical condition is improperly or wrongfully treated. This could include mistakes in prescribing medication, failure to properly administer medication or surgical errors, such as infection caused by substandard equipment or damage to organs and arteries. These treatment errors often make medical conditions worse than they were before the treatment began.
There are also diagnostic mistakes to consider. When patients go to doctors for help with symptoms or a condition, they are subject to a battery of tests and X-rays. If the test results are misinterpreted, patients may get a wrongful diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, which will affect their options for care.
In cases of egregious errors, diseases or even cancer don’t get caught in time – leading to devastating results. Another phase of medical care in which malpractice can occur is the issue of consent. Before transferring a patient or beginning treatment, healthcare providers are required to inform the patient and get their consent. If a physician acts against the patient’s desires, or the patient isn’t adequately educated about his/her treatment options, it is a violation of acceptable standards of care.
Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers have represented victims of all types of medical malpractice, including:
- Delayed diagnosis or wrongful diagnosis
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Failure to properly use anesthesia and oxygen
- Birth injuries to both mother and child
- Surgical errors, such as infection or damage to organs
- Mistakes in blood tests or laboratory tests
- Errors made by paramedics or emergency room attendants
- Chiropractic errors
- Wrongful death
HOW WE HANDLE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
Medical malpractice claims are complicated, often requiring extensive knowledge of both the law and of medicine in order to prove your claim. A personal injury lawyer will need to establish that acceptable standards of medical care were violated, resulting in injury or death. The timeframe for proving these claims is strict and may require testimony from experts in the medical field who have objectively reviewed the evidence.
The typical elements of a medical malpractice case involve:
- Proving that the medical provider – a physician, a nurse or a hospital – was obligated to provide a certain standard of care for the patient.
- That a violation of this acceptable standard occurred.
- That a patient was injured or killed as a consequence of this violation.
- That the patient suffered actual damages – pain and suffering, out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages or more – as a result of a medical malpractice injury.
These claims can be difficult to establish, because adverse consequences alone from medical care often isn’t enough evidence. As soon as you suspect medical malpractice, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can review the facts, including medical records, and conduct interviews.
Medical malpractice claims are subject to statutes of limitations and can be thrown out if certain deadlines are not met. There may also be limits on how much you can receive if you are a victim of medical malpractice. That’s why it’s important to take your case to a qualified medical malpractice lawyer right away.
DAMAGES YOU MAY BE OWED AS A RESULT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
In many cases when patients are injured as a result of a medical error, healthcare providers will want to settle quickly by offering a settlement that isn’t fair. Having a lawyer to represent you when you suspect a medical error is the best way to ensure you get a better settlement.
While the insurance companies may try to pressure you into accepting a quick settlement and moving on, they won’t be able to get away with inadequate payouts when you have a tough lawyer on your side. Instead of relying on your health insurance or on your health care provider’s insurance to take care of you, seek justice through an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
Some of the damages you may be legally entitled to if you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice include:
- Medical expenses: Both out-of-pocket expenses and bills you may receive as a result of future medical care are legally owed to victims of medical malpractice. When patients have been harmed as a result of negligent medical treatment, they are often already on the hook for medical costs. In addition, the harm from medical malpractice may result in the need for follow- up care. Insurance providers typically don’t include any estimate for future medical costs you may be facing as a result of medical malpractice. That’s why you need a lawyer on your side to argue that you will need compensation for future medical costs – not just the treatment you already paid for.
- Lost income: Victims of medical malpractice are often required to miss work in order to receive treatment. For some, this could range from days to months, depending on the severity of the injury involved. If medical malpractice is the cause of missed time at work, the money you could have earned should be accounted for.
- Lost earning capacity: Medical malpractice can result in injuries so severe that they may affect your career. Some patients won’t ever be able to return to work as a result of disability. Others may have to forsake their chosen occupation if their injuries prevent them from being able to fulfill their obligations at work. The money you could have earned if you hadn’t been victimized by medical malpractice should be calculated and factored into any settlement during the negotiation process.
- Pain and suffering: Victims of medical malpractice may suffer emotional damage as well. For some, fear of medical treatment and of hospitals can have a significant impact on how their lives will unfold. Others will have mental anguish about whether doctors will refuse to treat them after learning of their medical malpractice claim. Whatever the case, the psychological damage from substandard medical care can have significant effects and should be adequately compensated.
- Wrongful death: This is most the serious consequence of medical malpractice and deprives families of a loved one – and in some cases, of a breadwinner. If you have lost a loved one because of poor medical care, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to seek justice for your family.