legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Medical Malpractice Attorney
When you enlist the services of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any other healthcare professional, you don't expect to run into any kind of harm. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and the people we entrust our lives to can be the ones to cause injury, illness, or death.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide proper treatment or gives substandard care that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. It can happen at any part of the healthcare process, such as in the diagnosis, medication prescription, or aftercare.
Did you or a loved one suffer harm due to the negligence of a medical professional? If so, your case may constitute medical malpractice. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can be the legal advocates you need to seek justice.
Contact our medical negligence lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information our clients share with our legal team remains private under an attorney-client relationship.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to a healthcare professional's failure to provide treatment within the standard of care recognized by the medical community. The standard of care is generally what a reasonable and sensible medical professional would or would not do under similar circumstances.
Types and Causes of Medical Negligence
According to the law, medical malpractice can occur in several ways, including:
Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is one of the most common types of medical malpractice in the US. It refers to a physician's failure to diagnose a patient's condition correctly or on time. Usually, misdiagnosis leads to further harm or injury to a patient or, worst cases, death.
Misdiagnosis can occur when a doctor:
- Mistakes a patient's condition for a less severe one
- Fails to diagnose a patient's condition despite existing signs and symptoms
- Diagnoses a patient's condition too late, and the disease has already progressed
- Fails to diagnose related or unrelated medical conditions
Surgery-related medical malpractice cases are some of the most dangerous as they often involve complicated procedures. A surgery error can occur in the following ways:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Performing the correct operation on a wrong patient
- Over or under-medicating a patient during surgery
- Conducting an unnecessary surgery
- Leaving surgical tools or sponges inside the patient
- Making an incision on the wrong site
- Failing to address complications after surgery
The US Food and Drug Administration receives over 100,000 complaints annually associated with medication errors. While most of these errors may not be fatal, they can cause severe complications and further injury to victims.
A medication error can occur due to:
- Prescribing the wrong drug, dose, or dosage form
- Dispensing the wrong drug to a patient
- Administering a prescription using an inappropriate method (e.g., orally instead of intravenously)
- Not giving medication promptly
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency departments are high-stress environments wherein staff members are more prone to medical errors, such as:
- Placing a patient in the wrong triage category; triage is the process of examining ill or injured people and treating patients with the most severe conditions first
- Misdiagnosing a patient
- Giving a patient a wrong medication
- Failing to perform required tests on a patient
- Delaying care for an ill or injured patient
- Discharging a patient from the hospital too early
Birth injuries are physical injuries sustained by a mother or child during childbirth, including bruising, fractures, excessive bleeding, lacerations, and so on. These injuries can put mothers and infants at risk of complications and mortality.
The following medical errors can cause a birth injury:
- Using forceps to remove an infant from the birth canal, causing fractures or bruising
- Failing to perform an emergency C-section when necessary, e.g., when the umbilical cord prolapses or the mother hemorrhages
- Failing to determine childbirth risks during a mother's pregnancy leading to increased birth injury risk during labor
- Delivering an infant using wrong handling techniques, causing bruising or excessive bleeding
- Not recognizing fetal or maternal distress and addressing it accordingly
- Failing to monitor mother and child after birth for potential complications or illnesses
Neglect occurs when medical professionals fail to provide a patient's basic needs, including food, water, medical care, and other essentials. It can happen in any healthcare setting, including hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices.
Neglect can occur in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Leaving a patient unattended for long periods increases the risk of injury
- Failing to give a patient adequate food and water leads to malnutrition and dehydration
- Not repositioning physically limited patients increases the risk of pressure ulcers (sores typically caused by lying in one position for long periods)
- Ignoring a patient's complaints of pain or discomfort leads to a delayed diagnosis of an underlying condition
- Failing to protect an at-risk patient from hospital-acquired infections (e.g., tuberculosis, pneumonia)
The law requires healthcare professionals to obtain consent before performing risky medical procedures. Suppose a patient does not give informed consent to a medical procedure. In that case, the healthcare professional may be liable if the procedure causes harm or injury, even if it was performed flawlessly.
Consequences of Medical Malpractice
Professionals who commit deviations from medical standards often face harsh penalties as their negligence can risk patients' lives and well-being. In severe cases, medical malpractice can lead to physical injuries, illnesses, and even untimely demise.
Preventable medical errors would be the third leading cause of death on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) list of top causes of US fatalities if they were included. In that case, medical malpractice would be right behind cancer and heart disease.
According to Johns Hopkins University, an estimated 251,000 deaths occur yearly due to medical malpractice in the country, higher than in other developing countries, such as Canada or the United Kingdom.
Signs of Medical Malpractice
The following signs may indicate that you are not getting the medical care you deserve:
- Your symptoms are common in more than one illness. Your doctor must complete an examination, analyze your medical records, and order tests (if necessary) to rule out other conditions before diagnosing you.
- Your doctor did not spend enough time examining you. Doctors and other medical professionals are often busy with clients. However, they shouldn't rush through your check-up and risk making the wrong diagnosis.
- You feel that your doctor did not use all available diagnostic tools. Some conditions only require one or two tests before a doctor can derive a conclusion. However, other illnesses entail more extensive testing. If you feel your doctor did not use other diagnostic options, consider looking for a second opinion.
- Your treatment is not working. If your medication is not working, it could be a sign of misdiagnosis. Ask your healthcare provider for other options, or go to a different doctor.
Talk to your lawyer if you are unsure whether your doctor has committed medical malpractice. A conversation with an experienced attorney can help you understand what constitutes malpractice and determine if you have a case.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical professionals are humans, and they make mistakes just like everybody else. However, there is little room for error in an industry that handles human lives. Therefore, all healthcare professionals must take every reasonable step to provide appropriate diagnoses and care for all patients.
Failure to provide proper medical care can lead to significant health consequences, which may be punishable by law. If you or a loved one suffers harm due to medical negligence, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit to pursue damages.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against a hospital or professional, you must prove the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care. All health care providers owe a legal duty of care to patients. The medical community has set standards that define acceptable treatment by reasonable and sensible professionals.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. This ‘breach' is a negligent act or omission that goes against the law or medical standard of care.
- The breach harmed the plaintiff. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant's negligent act caused or contributed to their injury.
- The plaintiff suffered significant damages. To recover damages, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's medical malpractice directly led to their losses.
According to medical malpractice law, the defendant can be an institution, medical practice, or professional. On the other hand, the plaintiff can be the victim or their proxy or surviving family members (if the victim has died).
Evidence You'll Need
Medical malpractice lawsuits often require substantial evidence to prove the defendant's negligence. Your medical malpractice attorney can help you gather forms of proof to solidify your case, such as:
- Medical records
- Lab or test results
- Prescriptions, in case of medication error
- Testimony from medical experts
- Photos of injuries
- Records of non-visible symptoms (e.g., pain diary)
- Witness accounts from hospital workers
- Independent medical examinations to prove the extent of harm, if necessary
- Autopsy reports, if applicable
You will also need to prove the extent of your economic and non-economic damages. Our attorneys recommend the following:
- Medical bills and hospital records
- Records showing missed workdays
- The victim's testimony highlights pain and suffering
- Psychological evaluations showing the mental impact of the injury
Your lawyer will help you gather all necessary documents once we accept your case. Ask your lawyer during your initial consultation if you have more questions concerning evidence.
Compensation For Medical Malpractice Claims
With the help of an experienced lawyer, you could recover fair financial compensation for the following:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for healthcare costs, including hospitalization, medication, surgery, therapy, and anticipated future bills
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related expenses if you become disabled due to medical malpractice, e.g., mobility aids, loss of future earning potential, physical therapy, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality of life lost due to the injury or disease caused by medical malpractice.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for wages, income, or benefits lost while recovering from your condition or caring for an injured loved one.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional harm, such as physical pain, emotional trauma, mental distress, etc.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: Compensation for damages associated with scarring, such as loss of quality of life, loss of future earning potential, emotional pain, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for related damages if your loved one dies due to medical malpractice, including funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, grief therapy, etc.
The value of your medical malpractice claim will largely depend on these damages. A medical malpractice lawyer can estimate the potential value of your compensation during your initial consultation.
People in the medical field typically have professional liability insurance to help cover them in case they accidentally harm a patient. When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional, you will likely face their insurance company.
Dealing with insurance companies can be tricky. Most insurers will try to get you to accept a lowball offer. Insurance firms do this to avoid paying more than necessary. If you receive an initial offer that is too low, do not accept it and call your lawyer immediately. An attorney can help you negotiate the offer on your behalf.
Remember that you can no longer sue for additional damages once you accept an insurance offer. So, have our medical malpractice attorneys communicate with the insurer on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Unfortunately, some medical malpractice cases don't work out through insurance settlements. Your attorney can help you file a lawsuit if:
- The defendant denies liability for your injury
- The insurance company refuses to make a fair offer
- Settlement negotiations have stalled
Your medical malpractice lawyer can help you file a case in civil court if necessary. While the litigation process often takes longer than settling through insurance, it will help you recover the compensation you deserve.
If you do not want to go to court, our lawyers could help you explore other legal options, such as arbitration or mediation. Your attorney will discuss these options further during your initial consultation.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
Medical malpractice is a complicated area of law. Furthermore, the medical industry and its standards can be challenging to understand for a layperson. Luckily, you don't have to deal with your legal issue alone. Our medical malpractice attorneys can help all clients with the following:
- Investigate the circumstances of your medical malpractice case (how, why, and when it happened)
- Identify all liable parties (e.g., doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, etc.)
- Determine the extent of your losses
- Consult with medical experts to prove negligence
- Gather substantial proof to support your claim
- File your claim with the defendant's insurance company
- Negotiate settlement values
- If necessary, file a lawsuit in civil court and represent you during the trial.
Your medical malpractice lawyer will discuss these responsibilities further during your free initial consultation.
Discuss Your Case With The Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers in the Country
Did you or a loved one suffer harm caused by a medical professional's negligence? If so, you could have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The skilled attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can help you obtain justice against all liable parties, be it a doctor, nurse, or an entire hospital. Our lawyers work tirelessly to help negligence victims seek fair financial compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits and out-of-court settlements.
Contact our personal injury lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information our clients share with our legal team remains private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis. You don't have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case.
- Medical News Today - What is Medical Malpractice?
- Stanford Medicine - Birth Injuries
- National Library of Medicine - Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors
- WebMD - Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year
- AMCP - Medication Errors
- Johns Hopkins - Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the US