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Medical MalpracticeSeeking Legal Aid from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Seeking Legal Aid from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice lawyers exist to protect patients from having to suffer the costs of their doctor’s mistake. When we seek help from a healthcare professional, we expect safe treatment, accurate diagnoses, and quality care. But sometimes that’s just not the case. Misdiagnose, inadequate care, and substandard treatment do occur, but malpractice laws protect patients from these incidents. If you believe that you have faced any of these situations, you can contact a medical malpractice lawyer to help you define the situation.

Did my Healthcare Provider Commit Medical Malpractice?

In general:

Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a health care professional or provider in which treatment provided was substandard, and caused harm, injury or death to a patient. … The error may have been because nothing was done (an act of omission), or a negligent act.”

The point of contention for a medical malpractice case is whether a medical professional performed below the expected standard of care. If you believe that a medical professional has treated you below the expected standard, acted with medical negligence, or caused you further harm from treatment, you may be entitled to compensation for any damages you have incurred.

Not all medical mistakes are considered malpractice. Doctors are human, they’re expected to make some mistakes. To be considered malpractice, the situation must meet two criteria:

  • The healthcare provider performed under the expected standard of care
  • The healthcare provider’s medical negligence or acts of omission resulted in a valid, serious injury

Malpractice is not limited to just doctors; nurses, aides, pharmacists, hospitals, and even pharmaceutical companies can all be held accountable for malpractice. It is important to recognize the correct party at fault before taking any legal action for adverse effects that you suffered from medical care.

The Process of a Medical Malpractice Case

Before you take legal action, there are a few things that you must take into consideration:

  • Find out your state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits
  • Contact the physician, or another physician, to determine whether the adverse effects that you are experiencing are expected and whether they are just short term side effects
  • Find out if you need to receive a “certificate of merit” for your injuries. This is a document that helps decide if the injuries were due to medical negligence on part of the health care provider.
  • Contact a medical malpractice law firm. Even if it is just for a case evaluation, a medical malpractice law firm can help you determine what damages you may be eligible to receive. A medical malpractice lawyer can also help you put together a strong case, a very complex task for malpractices lawsuits.

The first step to any medical malpractice case is establishing an expected standard for care. To do so, your medical malpractice lawyer will refer to a third party medical professional who reviews the incident and determines whether malpractice occurred.

If the third party decides that incident does fall under their definition of malpractice, the next step will be to file a claim.

After filing your claim, a board from the medical institution where the incident occurred will review the circumstances and decide if they believe that the performance fell below the expected standard of care. If the board decides that it does fall below standard, the next step may be initiating the settlement process. However, if the board attests that malpractice occurred, the case will go to trial. More times than not, the board will attest at least some level of the claim and the case will go to trial.

How Do I Prove My Doctor is Liable?

In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove that the healthcare professional who provided your treatment is at fault for your injuries and liable for damages.

In order to do so you must prove these elements:

  • Your healthcare professional owed you a legally abided duty of care
  • Their actions fell below this standard of care
  • Their deviation from this standard of care defined a breach of their legally abided duty to you
  • This breach of duty was associated with the injuries that you obtained
  • There were damages linked to these injuries

A detailed explanation of liability can be found here.

Understanding Direct Cause

In order to link the healthcare provider’s breach of duty to your injuries, you must show direct, or in some instances proximate, cause. Simply having an injury and proving that your doctor made a mistake is not enough evidence to show direct cause. The defense will focus primarily on disproving this part of your claim by arguing that there was no actual correlation between your injury and the mistake, but rather the injury was a preexisting condition. To show direct or proximate cause, you will need to make a definitive connection between your injuries and the healthcare provider’s actions of omissions or medical negligence. Direct and proximate cause are the backbone to strong malpractice claims. Without cause, you have no case.

One of the best tools to prove cause is evidence showing that there is a link between your treatment and injuries.

Review our outline of evidence here.

Calculating Damages – What Compensation Am I Entitled To?

The damages linked to any medical malpractice include any losses that you suffered or may suffer in the future due to your injuries. Actual monetary loss, medical bills, lost wages, etc., are more apparent and easier to prove. But along with these losses, you are eligible for compensation for pain, suffering, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. Though it can be more difficult to put a price tag on these losses, our well-knowledged medical malpractice law firm has developed the skills and knowledge to calculate these damages.

Malpractice trials are one of the most complex types of trials of all personal injury litigations. Both the plaintiff and defense will conduct pretrial depositions, formulate discoveries, refer to experts for review, and gather a team of experts for testimony. These factors comprised together can become quite an investment for the parties involved. Our medical malpractice law team doesn’t want to encumber our clients with these costs, so we work on contingency, meaning our clients don’t pay anything until they receive adequate compensation for their injuries.

Can I Sue My Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

A common question that we receive is whether a client can sue their doctor for misdiagnosis. In short, yes you can sue your doctor for misdiagnosis. However, this is a circumstantial situation.

You must ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did my doctor provide an improper diagnosis, and if corrected, was the mistake corrected within a reasonable period of time?
  • Did the misdiagnosis directly result in damages. Be it increased medical costs, adverse health risks from medical treatment, loss of opportunity to properly address the actual medical issue, etc.?
  • Did my doctor provide a secondhand opinion on my diagnosis? Did I seek a secondhand opinion, and if so, did the second opinion provide a correct diagnosis?

Sepsis Infection Leading to a Sepsis Malpractice Lawsuit

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is your body’s response to an infection, essentially the body is responding too much to the infection. This causes inflammation, which if not treated, can cause damage your organs, slow blood flow, and eventually can lead to a life-threatening condition called septic shock.

How do I get sepsis?

There are a number of ways to contract sepsis, but all are a result of an infection. Sepsis is commonly the result of pneumonia, abdominal infection, kidney infection, or a bloodstream infection. After contracting an infection, it is important for both you and medical personnel to treat the infection swiftly and efficiently.

Symptoms of Sepsis

Various symptoms can occur including abnormal temperature, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and or an infection. More serious symptoms can occur and are a sign of organ failure. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to, discoloration of the skin, slowed cognitive ability.

If you are currently experiencing any combination of the aforementioned symptoms, seek help from medical personnel immediately. Without immediate treatment, the infection could become worse and result in a life-threatening situation.

I acquired Sepsis while under the care of medical personnel. Do I have a Sepsis malpractice lawsuit?

Infections are not uncommon and when treated quickly and efficiently, will not result in a worse condition. If you believe your infection was not caught in time or treated properly, subsequently causing sepsis or septic shock, contact a malpractice lawyer to explore further options.

Sepsis Malpractice Lawsuits

TorHoerman Law specializes in malpractice law with the goal of obtaining compensation for clients wronged by a missed diagnosis or mistreated condition. If you or a loved one contracted sepsis or septic shock, we are here to help.

Is Pharmacy Error Considered Medical Malpractice?

The pharmaceutical industry is now one of the largest American commerce in the market, serving the nearly 60% of the population now taking prescription drugs, daily. With the sheer volume of prescriptions being filled, pharmacy mistakes are inevitable. Pharmacy error is just like any other form of malpractice, and pharmacists can be held accountable for any damages that they cause from acts of omission.

As the pharmaceutical industry, has expanded, pharmacy mergers have become very common. Patient care has taken back-seat to focusing on moving as many prescriptions as possible as the handful of active pharmacy corporations compete. Unlike the past, when your local pharmacist was familiar with his/her customer base and their medical histories, most pharmacists today do not know their costumers, some never even meeting the people whose prescriptions they fill. These factors have led to an increase in pharmacist errors.

Common Pharmaceutical Mistakes

Just like any healthcare professional, pharmacists have a duty of care owed to their customer. It is their legal obligation to correctly fill your prescription in order to avoid:

  • Allergic reactions or other side effects: pharmacists are expected to check your medical history to ensure there will be no adverse effects caused by your medication
  • Drug interactions: pharmacists have a duty to cross-reference any current prescriptions to avoid drug interactions
  • Medication mix-ups: pharmacists have a duty to provide the correct medication, including brand and dosage

Pharmacists can be held accountable just like any healthcare provider. The same rules and systems apply for claims against pharmacists as malpractice claims. The main attributing factor is making a direct and proximate connection between your injury and the pharmacists act of omission.

Respondeat Superior vs. Independent Contractors

The legal doctrine “Respondeat superior” is a type of vicarious liability. Under the doctrine the employer of a healthcare professional may be held liable for any acts of medical negligence that they healthcare professional commits. For instance, if an x-ray tech mixes up patient x-rays, then the hospital that employs the x-ray tech may be held liable for his mistake. This doctrine applies to any healthcare employee who acts negligently but within the scope of their duties under their employer. “Respondeat superior” was established to ensure that the party held liable is financially available to cover any damages involved. The doctrine is a type of vicarious liability.

On the other hand, some healthcare providers are considered independent contractors working for the healthcare institution. This is most common among attending physicians. Any act of medical negligence committed by an independent contractor cannot be held on account of the hospital, and so the individual, not the institution, is held liable.

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