Malpractice lawyers decline cases because potential compensation doesn’t justify legal costs, Knutsen says. It only makes sense to accept “high-value cases,” meaning those with potentially big claims. The decision rests on the “entirely distasteful” exercise of calculating the value of a life. “It’s cheaper to kill someone than to maim them. In our legal system, as long as you are alive, you have a claim for income loss and pain and suffering. If you’re dead, those claims expire,” Knutsen says.
Medical malpractice includes a significant injury to the patient. It can also include situations where the hospital, or one of its staff members, acted in a way that wasn't in a manner of expected care. It can also include a medical mistake such as an overdose of medication or operations where gauze or tools were left inside an incision and/or wound. The field of medical malpractice is vast, which is why it is important to have an attorney review the facts of your situation to see if you have a case.
Search for disciplinary sanctions. Visit your state’s disciplinary board to see if the attorney has been sanctioned in the past. Attorneys are sanctioned for ethics violations, such as disclosing client confidences or failing to respond to client emails. They are not sanctioned for failing to win cases, unless their performance was so low as to be negligent.
There is no definitive answer, as all cases are different. There are a number of factors that can affect the timelines. First, a case that has multiple parties involved will require much more investigation than a single case. There are depositions, a commitment of experts and the court's schedule to consider. In addition, the insurance company may settle without going to court or the company may try to postpone a court date as long as possible.
Mental anguish is an element of non-economic damages usually sought in personal injury cases, medical malpractice and sometimes defamation cases. Generally, "mental anguish" translates to certain types of suffering that may include distress, anxiety, fright, depression, grief, or trauma. In many jurisdictions, plaintiffs may recover for mental anguish; however, some states set compensation caps on non-economic damages.
Unfortunately, just because one of these things occurs does not mean you have a claim. Medicine is not an exact science, and the law does not obligate doctors to be error-free 100 percent of the time. If doctor error occurs but there is no breach of a standard of care, you may not have a strong claim. If however, doctor error occurs and there is a breach of a standard of care, then malpractice may have occurred.
Any condition can be misdiagnosed, but there are some that doctors fail to diagnose at a much higher rate than others. Since a great deal of cases of misdiagnosis occur in emergency rooms, many of the commonly misdiagnosed conditions are incredibly serious. Patients who are taken to emergency rooms with symptoms of a heart attack are often told that they are having indigestion or a panic attack. A patient who is having a stroke may be told that his symptoms indicate he is experiencing a bad migraine headache. Doctors can also make mistakes when diagnosing cancer. A doctor may fail to order the appropriate tests or may misread test results and tell the patient that he does not have cancer, when he actually does.
1. When a person comes into a medical facility and asks to be evaluated, the hospital must provide a medical screening examination (MSE) to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor. The hospital may not decide on treatment based on your ability to pay and may not delay treatment to your detriment because they want to prove you can pay, such as pre-authorization from private health insurance. Thus the statute puts your welfare above the pocketbook of the hospital. The statute requires the hospital to use the medical equipment on hand, such as xray, CAT scan, MRI, EMG, EKG equipment as part of the emergency medical screening (EMC) process. So if the hospital just figures you are ok without doing tests, they may be liable under EMTALA. EMTALA applies to any patient coming in to the hospital, not just indigent patients.
Intensity. The more intense the mental anguish, the better chance you have of proving that your emotional distress was severe enough to deserve compensation. In some cases, however -- particularly, cases alleging negligent (rather than intentional) infliction of emotional distress, courts will typically require some sort of physical injury as well.
VII. Negligence cannot be attributed to a doctor so long as he performs his duties with reasonable skill and competence. Merely because the doctor chooses one course of action in preference to the other one available, he would not be liable if the course of action chosen by him was acceptable to the medical profession. VIII. It would not be conducive to the efficiency of the medical profession if no Doctor could administer medicine without a halter round his neck.
For example, the standard of care for an eight-year-old child with a cough who is complaining of chest pain would be different than the standard of care for an 80-year-old man who’s complaining of the same symptoms but has smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for most of adulthood. In the case of the child, a reasonable, competent doctor would probably diagnose and treat the child for bronchitis, but that same doctor would run tests to determine whether the elderly smoker had lung cancer.
X. The medical practitioners at times also have to be saved from such a class of complainants who use criminal process as a tool for pressurizing the medical professionals/hospitals particularly private hospitals or clinics for extracting uncalled for compensation. Such malicious proceedings deserve to be discarded against the medical practitioners. XI. The medical professionals are entitled to get protection so long as they perform their duties with reasonable skill and competence and in the interest of the patients. The interest and welfare of the patients have to be paramount for the medical professionals.
There is a functional as well as a sentimental component to loss of consortium claims. In the spousal context, loss of consortium often requires that intimate details of the couple’s relationship be examined and made part of the public record. It is important to be aware of that before considering whether to bring a loss of consortium claim. The sentimental component may include the impact the injury had on a married couple’s sexual relationship as well as companionship (such as if the couple used to go out dancing frequently). The functional component includes services the injured spouse used to provide (such as taking out the trash and driving the kids to school).
You’ve probably heard horror stories of medical negligence about surgeons accidentally amputating the wrong leg, or removing a non-cancerous organ, but what you may not know is that a medical negligence/malpractice may be brought against doctors who simply provide less than acceptable care. This can mean not providing a thorough enough check-up, giving a prescription for the wrong dose of medication, etc. Below you’ll find some tips about suing your physician for negligent care.
If a personal injury claim was always as simple as only having special damages, things would be more clear cut. However, a personal injury claim almost never ends at special damages. Oftentimes, an injured person also suffers non-monetary damages that one cannot easily place a price on. This is the problem with pain and suffering claims, and thus the need for a way to calculate a number that is fair for the insurance company and the injured victim and family.
A patient bringing a failure to misdiagnose case must prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor failed to live up to the standard of care in diagnosing the patient's condition, and that the doctor's failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis actually and proximately caused an actual injury. Most often, failure to diagnose cases involve disputes related to the applicable standard of care and whether the doctor's failure to diagnose caused the plaintiff's injury.
If you think you’ve been a victim of medical negligence at a hospital, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The statute of limitations, or the legal timeframe in which one can bring a medical negligence suit, begins once the injury is known or should have been known. The Florida statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally 2 years-absent some exceptions that can extend the period up to 4 years or 8 years for infants.
Typically, a misdiagnosis is not grounds for a medical malpractice case. This is a gray area due to the fact that not all diseases and conditions present with obvious signs. However, if there is proof that a medical professional was negligent in making a diagnosis because of his or her substandard care, you may have a case. A doctor is not expected to be accurate 100 percent of the time, but he or she is expected to follow appropriate diagnostic standards of care.
In most states, first responders in a medical emergency situation (such as an EMT or a firefighter) are protected from lawsuits unless the first responder does something reckless or intentional. This protection for first responders does not apply to emergency rooms in hospitals, although in some states an emergency room doctor must act with gross negligence to be held liable for harm that occurs before the patient is stabilized.
Yes, you could, but probably not nearly as effectively as a lawyer could. In fact, the cases can be so difficult that most personal injury lawyers do not handle medical malpractice claims. A medical negligence claim is very technical. A medical malpractice lawyer has the familiarity with the requirements necessary to prove the departure from the standard of care, the resources, the money, and the experience to advocate for you in a trial. In most states for most medical negligence claims, each claim needs an expert witness, who is either a doctor or a nurse. Some cases require multiple experts. The cases are very expensive and the hospitals know it. Make sure you chose a lawyer that specializes in medical malpractice and has the resources to handle your case.
Special medical malpractice review panels. Many states require the patient to first submit the claim to a malpractice review panel. This panel of experts will hear arguments, review evidence and expert testimony, and then decide whether malpractice has occurred. The panel decision does not replace an actual medical malpractice lawsuit, and the panel cannot award damages, but it's a hoop the patient must jump through before getting to court. The findings of the review panel can be presented in court, and courts often rely on a review panel's finding of no medical malpractice to throw out a case before it goes to trial.
A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing -- this means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For example, you can't sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a cocktail party. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Questions of whether or not the relationship exists most frequently arise where a consulting physician did not treat you directly.
I attempted to get recompense for my elderly mother after medical neglect that resulted in her losing her ability to walk, additional surgeries, and months of pain. I had no idea WHY the lawyers I contacted didn't even want to listen to the details. Now I know, and am disheartened to learn the reason for their disinterest. I've never sued anybody, am not one of those people who would sue when I dump coffee in my lap. But when one has a legitimate reason and legitimate damages, it's horrendous that our legal system provides no avenue of recompense for actual damage that is life altering.
The doctor's negligence caused the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor's negligence caused the death rather than the cancer. The patient must show that it is "more likely than not" that the doctor's incompetence directly caused the injury. Usually, the patient must have a medical expert testify that the doctor's negligence caused the injury.
This is medical negligence. The 1) the standard of care requires a surgeon, the surgical team, and the hospital, to not leave surgical instruments inside of a patient 2) the doctor fell below the standard of care, 3) and it made the man sick for a year 4) which caused him pain and suffering, to miss work, and to incur unnecessary medical expenses both in dealing with the mystery illness after the first surgery and again for the second surgery to remove the gauze.
If you have had emotional distress and sought counseling or treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist, be sure and keep medical bills, prescription receipts, and records detailing your emotional state. It is important to be as genuine and honest as possible, even though it can be difficult to reveal private, personal information, There is no point in exaggerating your problems, as this can diminish your credibility and actually negatively affect your claim worth.
In the context of the doctor-patient relationship, proving the necessary elements of an emotional distress claim can be difficult. Plaintiffs may need medical evidence, from psychologists or orthopedists, of emotional or physical injuries -- the more intense the mental anguish and the longer the suffering, the more likely you'll be able to prove emotional distress. And the more extreme or outrageous the underlying conduct, the more likely you'll be able to link your distress to that conduct.
Significantly, your attorney can only use these examples of loss to illustrate your injuries if you provide it to him or her. If your case is in litigation you will most likely sit for a deposition (your testimony given under oath before a court reporter who is taking down questions directed to you by the defense attorney and your responses). In preparing for your deposition, your attorney may ask you to explain how this accident has affected your life. Be ready to give real life examples so that your attorney can best advocate on your behalf.
Expert witnesses, copies of medical records, deposition and witness fees, medical exams -- all of these things cost money. And if you lose your case, you could very well be on the hook for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in expenses - depending on your legal fee agreement. Is your case important enough to you that you feel the potential financial benefit outweighs the risk?