Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect something went wrong with your medical care.
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine found medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to medical malpractice insurance giant Deitrich Healthcare, medical malpractice payouts totaled $3.9 billion in 2014.
Wondering whether you have been the victim of medical malpractice? Take this quiz to learn more.
Q: Did you have a medical outcome that was not anticipated or expected?
If you, or someone you love, has suffered an unintended medical result, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. An “unintended medical result” is an outcome different from the one you and your family expected. Some examples are:
- A child born with a brain injury after an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy
- Back surgery that results in paralysis
- A hospital admission that results in a pulmonary embolism
- An emergency room visit for chest pain that results in discharge and a heart attack a few days later
- An undiagnosed cancer
- A colonoscopy that results in a ruptured intestine
- Being given the wrong medication
Q: Can you establish a doctor-patient relationship?
This may seem obvious, but the plaintiff must be able to establish that the physician defendant was hired to perform a medical procedure. Hospital records are the easiest method to prove the doctor-patient relationship.
Q: What was the appropriate medical standard of care and did the medical provider fall short of that standard?
The courts in most states require a qualified medical expert to answer this question. A medical expert will determine the skill and attention your medical provider should have demonstrated while taking care of you. If the medical expert believes your medical provider fell short of the standard expectations of care and this failure caused you harm, you may have a case. Finding the right medical expert to evaluate your case is very difficult to do by yourself. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers will connect you with the right medical expert to help make your case.
Q: When did the medical procedure in question occur?
Most States have a Statute of Limitations that restricts how long a plaintiff can wait to file a claim. These time limits vary from state to state, but are generally two or three years from the time of the medical procedure that caused the harm. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can advise you on the time limits for your state.
It is always best to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect something went wrong with your medical care.
Q: Was the doctor negligent?
An unhappy patient does not translate into malpractice. Instead, negligence is shown by proving that the physician caused harm that a similarly trained physician would not have caused. A medical expert can help prove that the physician fell short of standard medical care, misdiagnosed the situation, chose the incorrect form of treatment, or incorrectly administered the chosen treatment.
Q: Did the physician and staff thoroughly explain all known health risks?
Health care providers have a duty to thoroughly inform you of all known risks and side effects of any procedure or medical therapy. If you were:
- Misinformed about your care plan
- Injured as a result of the care you chose; and
- Can show that the correct information would have caused you to have made a different choice about your care, you may be entitled to compensation
Q: Did your condition worsen as a result of malpractice?
Many plaintiffs suing for medical malpractice were already ill when they sought medical care. Therefore, it must be shown that the doctor’s mistake specifically caused additional physical pain, lost work time, medical costs, or mental anguish over and above what would have been caused by the medical condition alone.
The lawyers at nearly any Personal Injury Law Firm should have decades of experience with medical negligence cases.
If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
If you’ve been victimized by a medical professional, you can probably pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice is a complicated form of law and requires the use of an extremely experienced lawyer or quality firm. Before you can pursue it, you may want to make sure that you are aware of several important factors.
The Definition of Medical Malpractice
First, you need to understand the definition of medical malpractice. The term refers to negligence by medical or health care professionals where the treatment given what not according to healthcare standards and resulted in harm, injury or death to a patient. It can also come from the medical professional failing to do anything (an act of omission) also resulting in harm, injury or death to a patient.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Was the care you received below the acceptable medical standard of care? This includes the decisions made, treatment and or the failure to treat you.
- Was this an actual breach of the medical standard of care, according to federal and state laws regarding medical negligence?
- Is there a connection between the care provider’s negligence and you being harmed while a patient?
- Do you have evidence of quantifiable harm or damages as a result?
Standard of Care
Next, understand what the medical standard of care is. To define whether the medical standard of care of was breached, you will likely need to focus on two areas:
- Show proof that the appropriate medical care was not given according to your need as a patient
- Show in detail how the defendant (health care professional or provider) did not meet the above mentioned standard
Ultimately, in order to have a good case on your hands, you need to be able to show what the accepted practices are surrounding the medical care or treatment you received and that they led to the alleged mistake. You will need to gather the testimony of an expert medical witness, someone who is an expert with your particular condition and who is a medical practitioner in the same geographic area as the defendant.
Finding the Right Attorney
Make sure that you choose a quality attorney with a record of winning medical malpractice cases. Make sure that your attorney is the go-to for medical malpractice in your geographical area, like Jeffrey J. Shapiro, a renowned attorney based in New York, New York, who heads a firm that is often consulted by other attorneys who need advice on medical malpractice claims.
If your budget doesn’t allow for you to hire the best of the best in your area, consider a pro-bono lawyer, who may or may not take your case depending on whether or not you have a legitimate claim.
In the long run, you will usually be better off if you hire your lawyer with the mindset that what you pay them is only a fraction of what you will get back if you win a suit and everything pans out fairly well. A lawyer should not be looked at as an expense, but as a necessity during times of need.