What Does Medical Malpractice Look Like in Burlington, Vermont?
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Medical malpractice refers to a situation where a hospital or medical professional injures a patient due to negligence when providing care. Malpractice can also occur due to a lack of care by a medical provider or facility.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in Burlington, Vermont
Knowing what medical malpractice looks like in Burlington is the first step to pursuing a claim against the negligent party. Sadly, many people lose their lives or suffer life-changing injuries due to medical malpractice. It is even more heartbreaking to learn that some people do not realize that their injuries have been caused by negligence. As a result, they live in pain for years, not knowing how or where to seek help.
Here are some common examples of medical malpractice you should know:
Failure to Diagnose
When you visit a healthcare provider to diagnose a specific problem, you rely on their training and experience to make the right decisions. But some medical providers do not take such issues seriously.
Failure to diagnose is a serious problem that could lead to severe consequences. For example, health problems such as cancer can be managed when diagnosed early enough. However, failure to diagnose such conditions could lead to severe, long-term effects or even death, depending on the severity of the condition.
Misdiagnosis is when a medical provider diagnoses or treats you for a health condition you do not suffer from. For example, if you experience constant headaches and decide to visit a doctor for further checkups, you expect the doctor to diagnose the problem. But this is not usually the case - some medical providers might provide the wrong diagnosis, requiring you to take medication or treatment for a medical condition you do not suffer from in the first place.
Ignoring Laboratory Results
Healthcare providers must evaluate your laboratory results before making decisions about your health. Failure to examine these results could lead to serious mistakes, including misdiagnosis. In addition, you may also miss important treatments you need to manage your health.
For example, suppose your laboratory results show that you have stage 1 cancer. You expect the medical provider to inform you about it and consider these results when deciding on the most appropriate treatment for you.
Here's another example:
Has your doctor ever told you that you cannot consume particular foods or drinks long with certain medications? This is because they reviewed your laboratory results before reaching such a conclusion.
Not every medical problem requires surgery. Many alternative treatment methods could work for various injuries or medical issues. When a doctor recommends surgery, it is usually the last remaining option or the best possible option. But, some doctors may still recommend surgery even if it is not the right option. This could be a case of medical malpractice.
Surgical errors can lead to serious health consequences. Some common examples of surgical errors include:
- Administering too much or too little medication
- Wrong site or wrong body part surgery
- Leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside the patient
- Damaging a nerve during surgery
- Causing infections due to negligence during surgery
- Not being mindful of the patient's medical records, e.g., allergies during surgery
Improper Medication or Dosage
You expect your doctor to provide you with the proper medication and dosage after diagnosis. However, this is not always the case. Some medical providers might prescribe the wrong medication, dosage, or even both to their patients. As a result, the patient might develop further medical complications.
Lack of Aftercare
When you visit a healthcare provider for treatment for a particular condition, you expect them to follow up on your progress. Lack of or poor aftercare could result in worse medical problems. For instance, if you went in for surgery and had a successful one, things could go from better to worse if the doctor fails to monitor your wounds. If the wound gets infected due to a lack of follow-up, the healthcare provider might be responsible even if the initial medical procedure was successful.
When you visit a healthcare facility for treatment, you expect to be discharged only when you feel better or when the provider believes that your condition no longer requires that you stay at the facility. So if the healthcare provider discharges you or a loved one prematurely and your condition worsens after the discharge, this could be a case of premature discharge, which also counts as medical malpractice.
Ignoring Patient's History
It is normal for medical providers to ask you several questions regarding your history during the initial appointment. They do this to ensure that the information they have about your medical history is consistent with your answers. Failure to take this information could lead to catastrophic results. For example, mixing certain medications could lead to severe health complications or death.
Even if the healthcare provider takes your medical history during the initial consultation before surgery or any other treatment procedure, they must obtain this information in full. In other words, not taking appropriate or adequate information about your medical history could lead to serious medical problems.
Ignoring or Failing to Recognize Symptoms
The number one reason people visit healthcare facilities is to find medical solutions to their health problems. In return, medical providers analyze the symptoms and propose the most appropriate treatment. But that doesn't always happen all the time. In some cases, negligent providers ignore or fail to recognize such symptoms, leading to serious health problems in the long run.
Things You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice Laws in Vermont
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical provider's negligence in Burlington, Vermont, you may be eligible for compensation. However, before you file a claim, here are some crucial medical malpractice laws in Vermont you need to know.
The Statute of Limitations
Like many states, Vermont has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. The statute of limitations refers to the time limit a plaintiff has to take legal action against the defendant. If the deadline expires, the plaintiff cannot take legal action against the defendant, particularly in court.
Vermont laws state that one party must take legal action against the other within three years of the date of the medical malpractice incident or two years from the date the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the injury, whichever occurs later.
The Statute of Repose
The statute of repose is a law that prohibits one party from seeking legal action against the other later than seven years from the date of the incident. This rule does not apply to cases where the medical practitioner leaves a foreign object in the patient's body.
It is also important to note that the statute of limitations may not apply when medical malpractice is covered by fraud. For example, if the medical practitioner or facility realizes that they made a careless mistake during surgery due to negligence but then decides to cover it up internally, the patient can sue them anytime without worrying about the deadline for filing such a lawsuit.
The Certificate of Merit
In Burlington and everywhere across Vermont, the plaintiff must provide a certificate of merit before the court when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This certificate proves that the plaintiff consulted a medical professional regarding the subject of the lawsuit. The certificate confirms that:
- the healthcare facility or provider acted negligently by failing to provide a reasonable standard of care to the plaintiff;
- there is a reasonable possibility that the plaintiff will be able to prove that the defendant acted negligently; or
- there is a reasonable possibility that the plaintiff will prove that the defendant's negligence caused the plaintiff's injury.
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What Happens if the Plaintiff Sues for Medical Malpractice Without a Certificate of Merit?
The court will most likely dismiss the lawsuit 'without prejudice.' This means the plaintiff can still file a civil lawsuit but only if they obtain the proper documentation.
However, if the court determines that the plaintiff can prove malpractice without a certificate of merit, they will waive this requirement. As a result, the plaintiff will only need to file an official complaint against the negligent party.
No Cap Policy
Many states limit the amount of compensation the plaintiff might be able to recover from a medical malpractice lawsuit. The limit applies even if the court determines that the defendant is guilty of negligence.
Vermont is one of the few states that do not limit the amount of compensation the plaintiff might be entitled to following a successful medical malpractice lawsuit.
How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
Medical malpractice cases are usually not the easiest to prove. This is actually one of the reasons you will need a certificate of merit before filing a lawsuit against the other party. Not every case qualifies as medical malpractice. But still, many people live a life of pain and sadness dealing with medical conditions caused by medical malpractice.
Here is now a medical malpractice lawyer in Burlington, Vermont can help:
Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you want to be sure that you have a valid case against the other party. But since these cases are complicated, an attorney can help determine whether you have a valid case against the other party.
Even if you have a valid claim against the negligent party, you will need evidence to prove your case. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help collect the most critical evidence for your case, increasing your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will analyze the damages caused by the negligent healthcare provider. They will also maximize your claim, ensuring you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Some common damages in medical malpractice cases include:
Examples of economic damages include medical expenses, cost of caregiving, lost wages, loss of earning potential, future medical expenses, etc.
These damages include but are not limited to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (filed by the victim's spouse or partner).
Negotiating on Your Behalf
The attorney will deal with the other party directly, so you won't have to. Lawyers know different tactics insurance companies use to avoid compensating victims of such injuries. By dealing with the other party directly, your attorney will fight for your rights and best interests.
Representing You in Court
Most malpractice cases settle out of court. However, there is always a possibility that the other party will refuse to cooperate with your legal team. In that case, your attorney can file a lawsuit against them, forcing them to appear in court.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Burlington, Vermont
Morgan & Morgan medical malpractice attorneys can help you get the compensation you need and deserve if you or a loved one is a victim of malpractice in Burlington and the surrounding areas.
Medical providers are some of the most trusted professionals in the country, but some take this level of trust for granted. Therefore, you should not suffer in silence due to someone's negligence. Although financial compensation may not reverse the effects of medical malpractice, it can help cover the costs involved.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have a proven track record of fighting for individuals like you in Burlington, VT, and everywhere across the country. So call us today at 802-557-6300 to speak with one of our representatives or fill out our free case evaluation form, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.