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Medical Negligence Statute

What Is a Medical Negligence Statute?

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What Is a Medical Negligence Statute?

When you visit a doctor, you are likely expecting a certain level of care. After all, doctors must go through rigorous schooling and training to become a doctor. When you realize that your doctor may have made a potentially life-threatening mistake and you have been harmed as a result of their negligence, you may be understandably reeling. If you find yourself in this position, you should contact an attorney right away. Morgan & Morgan is available to help. We have been handling medical malpractice cases for decades and will do whatever it takes to make sure justice is served. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is a necessary element that must be present to lead to a successful medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when a practitioner’s negligence causes some kind of injury to the patient. It does not matter if this negligence was intentional or unintentional. Some examples of medical malpractice can include making a patient’s condition worse, making the patient need additional medical treatment, or causing unexpected complications.

What Are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice?

If you believe that your doctor was negligent in your care and the result was that you were injured in some way, then you may have been a victim of medical malpractice. It can be difficult to determine if you were involved in medical negligence or malpractice, but some of the most common cases of medical malpractice include:

1. Birth complications

Injuries during birth happen most often during labor and delivery. Many mistakes can happen during birth, such as improper monitoring of the baby or mother, too much force on the doctor’s part, and other instances of malpractice.

Injuries can occur such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and damaged nerves. For some infants, the consequences of malpractice can be severe, resulting in cerebral palsy, facial paralysis, oxygen deprivation, swelling of the scalp, and hemorrhages.

2. Incorrect Diagnoses

If a doctor makes the wrong diagnosis, or a delayed diagnosis because they failed to notice something that another doctor working under similar circumstances would have, consequences can be severe for a patient. This lack of carefulness can qualify as medical malpractice.

According to a study in the BMJ Quality and Safety, about 12 million adults seeking medical care each year are misdiagnosed. In other words, 1 out of 20 adult patients are misdiagnosed every year. The study also found that in half of these cases, the misdiagnosis had a strong potential to result in serious harm to the patient.

3. Medication errors

Approximately 1.3 million people are injured each year as a result of medication errors. There are a variety of ways in which medication errors can occur. For some patients, doctors or pharmacists simply give them the incorrect medication for the issue they are facing. Another common issue is dosage mistakes, whether it be too much or too little of a drug. Sometimes, hospital equipment malfunctions can happen, resulting in some kind of dosage mistake or other error.

Often, age makes a difference in the case of medication errors. People older than 60 are more likely to receive the wrong type or dosage of medication. This is because older people are more likely to be on more medications than people under the age of 60.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice

If you were injured and think you might have a medical malpractice claim, you might be wondering what is a medical malpractice statute and why is it important? The statutes lay out the rules for what you must prove to build your case. In a medical malpractice claim, a few elements must be present to build an effective case. It is not as simple as having a bad outcome to a course of treatment from a healthcare provider.

First, you must prove that your doctor had a legal responsibility to care for you as the patient. Then, you must prove that the practitioner took actions or inactions that fell below the medical standard expected of them (negligence). Finally, you must prove that as a result of their action or inaction, you were harmed or had a serious injury.

Evidence is necessary for a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. It may be helpful to retrieve documentation such as records and bills from your treatment, documentation proving loss of income as you were recovering from the malpractice, and some kind of account of the pain and suffering or mental anguish you faced.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan - Medical Malpractice Attorneys

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations in My State?

    It is important to understand the statute of limitations, or the time you have to file a lawsuit from your injury, for medical malpractice before you begin your case. Many states differ in their statute of limitations, with some states such as Kentucky and Louisiana giving plaintiffs just one year to file, while some states like Minnesota give plaintiffs 4 years. Most states fall in between these extremes at 2-3 years, but it is imperative you know your own state’s statute of limitations to ensure you receive compensation. If you do not file in time, you forfeit your right to damages.

    Some states have complicated rules surrounding the statute of limitations. All states require that you file an initial complaint against the practitioner or care facility in the civil court system within the time limit, but some states also require that you file an affidavit in which an expert witness or attorney declares that your case has some kind of merit.

    Many states also allow a “discovery” exception to their statute of limitations. This provides a bit of extra time for a plaintiff to file based on the assumption that a victim may not have known right away that they were harmed as a result of a medical error. Ensure you know all of the exceptions and additions to the statute of limitations in your state so that you can file correctly and on time.

  • What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive?

    In many states, such as Pennsylvania, there is no cap on the compensation you can receive from medical malpractice. Some of the top average malpractice compensation awards are pathology at $473,957, neurosurgery at $469,222, gastroenterology at $390,538, general practice at $235,789, and dermatology at $189,065.

    If you want to know what is a medical malpractice statute and A plaintiff is eligible for two different types of compensation in a negligence malpractice lawsuit and how it affects your compensation, this is a reasonable concern. Plaintiffs in these types of cases can typically recover damages called economic and non-economic damages. 

    Economic damages are financial expenses such as present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. For instance, if a plaintiff needed additional treatment as a result of the practitioner’s negligence and malpractice, they could receive compensation for their medical bills.

    Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, but they include things like pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Specifically, the spouse of the plaintiff can recover damages for consortium, which entails the emotional and intangible elements of a marriage. This could include comfort and companionship, affection, and sexual relations.

  • Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for Medical Malpractice?

    There are several reasons you may want to work with an experienced and qualified attorney on your medical malpractice lawsuit.

    The possibility for compensation is great and can be life-changing for you and your family as you recover from the medical malpractice you suffered. However, if a case is mishandled, such as not filing within your state’s statute of limitations, you forfeit all right to the compensation you should be entitled to. This is why you should work with a lawyer who is familiar with medical malpractice suits.

    Additionally, proving medical malpractice can be more complicated than other types of lawsuits. Some states require that you provide expert medical witness testimony. This witness must testify that the care you received fell below medical standard, another doctor would have acted differently to prevent harm, and the injuries you received are most likely caused or exacerbated by the defendant’s actions. An attorney will be able to arrange this medical witness so you can continue to focus on your recovery instead.

    A significant amount of documentation is also typically required to prove medical malpractice. It would save you a significant amount of time and headache to work with an attorney who can organize and gather documentation on your behalf. Besides simple documentation such as your medical bills and pay stubs proving you faced a loss of income, it would be beneficial to retrieve some kind of statement of future treatment costs if you may be facing lifelong treatment as a result of medical malpractice. Your attorney will be able to determine if this is a necessary and helpful step, and they can arrange this type of documentation on your behalf, saving you time.

    Your attorney can help in a multitude of other ways, including communicating with the defendant on your behalf, calculating non-economic damages on your behalf since they may be difficult to quantify, negotiating with a hospital’s insurance company for a settlement if applicable, and if necessary, your attorney will handle taking your case to trial. If you want the maximum amount of compensation possible, it is in your best interest to work with a quality attorney.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan  

    As a victim of medical malpractice, you may be feeling a significant amount of emotional distress. Ease your stress and get the compensation you deserve today. For expert help, reach out to attorney Morgan & Morgan. We have been handling medical malpractice claims for decades and are always available to help you. We have firms across the United States, so no matter where you’re located, we can help. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation. 

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