What is a medical malpractice case?
A medical malpractice case is a legal action taken against a healthcare provider for their substandard treatment, resulting in injury to a patient. In other words, medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider acts—or fails to act—in a manner acceptable in the medical community, causing injury to a patient.
If you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, Morgan and Morgan medical malpractice attorneys might be able to help. We understand the pain of malpractice, which is why we are here to help. All you need to do is fill out our free case evaluation form to discuss your case with one of our legal representatives. And if you have a valid claim against a medical provider, we might be able to fight for you.
What Are Some Common Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice comes in many different forms. That said, here are some of the most common examples of malpractice in the medical field:
- Failure to diagnose
- Unnecessary surgery
- Improper medication or dosage
- Premature discharge from a medical facility
- Surgical errors or wrong site surgery
- Misreading laboratory test results
- Ignoring lab test results
- Ignoring a patient’s medical history when providing treatment
- Poor or lack of follow-up or aftercare
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
To prove medical malpractice, your case must satisfy four key elements. They include:
- The healthcare provider or facility owed you a duty of care
- The healthcare provider or facility breached this duty
- You suffered injuries due to the breach of duty
- You also suffered financial or intangible losses due to the injury
What Damages Can You Recover If You Win a Medical Malpractice Case?
The damages you may be able to recover will depend on the specifics of your case. Typically, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
In this context, economic damages refer to financial losses caused by malpractice. Examples of such damages include medical expenses, cost of medical equipment, cost of transportation to medical appointments, lost wages, loss of earning potential, and so on.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are the kind of damages that do not involve money. These damages include pain and suffering, mental distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
Your spouse or family member might also be able to file a loss of consortium claim. This is a standalone claim usually filed by the victim’s spouse. It alleges that the injury their spouse sustained altered their relationship in one way or another.
For example, suppose a patient was paralyzed waist down due to negligence by a healthcare provider. In that case, the victim’s spouse can file a loss of consortium claim because they can no longer engage in sexual relations with their spouse, who is a victim of malpractice.
In addition to the damages mentioned above, the court might also award punitive damages. This award is usually granted in cases where the defendant was grossly negligent, causing severe injuries to the victim. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their negligence and warn other parties in the same field that they will be liable for negligence.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The deadline for filing medical malpractice claims will depend on your State. For example, in Washington, you have up to three years from when you got injured or should have known that you were injured to file a claim. On the other hand, in Texas, you have two years to file such a claim.
It is also important to note that if you do not file a claim within your State’s statute of limitations, you may still have other legal options. For example, in Washington, the court might overlook this statute if you prove that the defendant committed fraud or intentionally concealed information about the injury from you. The same applies if the plaintiff is incompetent or cannot understand the case brought forth against the defendant.
Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney to File a Claim?
The truth is, you do not necessarily need an attorney. However, medical malpractice claims are difficult to handle without an experienced attorney. These claims require a lot of legal resources, research, and a deep understanding of how federal and State laws apply to your particular situation. Besides, since medical practitioners are protected by governments, unions, medical facilities, insurance companies, and other organizations, it is not always easy to file a successful lawsuit without an attorney.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help?
A medical malpractice attorney can help evaluate your case to determine whether you stand a chance of winning in the first place. If you have a valid case, the malpractice attorney can help in the following ways:
- Collect crucial evidence against the defendant
- Fill out important paperwork while observing critical deadlines
- Prepare you for deposition, trial, and other legal processes
- Explain your rights to you
- Explain what you should or should not do while the case is still active
- Interpret the law and how it applies to your specific situation
- Create a legal strategy to pursue your claim
- Represent you in court
- Represent you in settlement negotiations with the defendant
What Should I Look for in a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
There are many different things you should look for in a medical malpractice attorney. That said, the most important are experience, results, and resources. You want an attorney with experience handling these cases to increase your chances of obtaining favorable results. An inexperienced attorney will likely settle for a lowball offer or not even be able to build a strong case against the other party.
If they are experienced, they should be able to prove this by providing results of malpractice cases they have won. In addition, you need an attorney with access to powerful legal resources because malpractice cases are complex; you will likely be coming up against big insurance companies and established defense attorneys.
At Morgan and Morgan, we have the experience, track record, and resources needed to handle medical malpractice cases. If you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, fill out our free case evaluation form today to have your case reviewed by one of our legal representatives. Then, if you have a valid claim, we might be able to fight for you.