Did you know the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, followed by cancer? For most of us, this comes as no surprise, considering the majority of families face these diseases in some form or another. What may surprise you, however, is the third most common cause of death in the U.S. is from medical error, also known as medical malpractice.
While some cases qualify as misdiagnosis, the truth is medical malpractice can take many forms. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to accurately estimate how often these errors occur because they typically go unreported by victims and their families. When medical mistakes are not addressed, hospitals and health care centers are bound to repeat them.
If you believe you’ve been injured as a result of medical malpractice, do not wait. Exercise your right to take legal action by learning how and when to make a claim below.
But first, what is medical malpractice?
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA):
“Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.”
Other examples of medical malpractice that may lead to a lawsuit include the following:
- Damage or injury to a child before, during, or just after birth (ex: brain injury, cerebral palsy or brachial plexus injury).
- Wrongful birth or death.
- Failure to diagnose or treat stroke.
- Negligent emergency room care.
- Premature discharge from the hospital.
- Surgical and anesthesia errors.
- Improper prescription and monitoring of medication (i.e., Gentamicin, Humira or Amiodarone.
- Fail to diagnose or delay in diagnosis.
- Fail to obtain informed consent before performing a procedure.
- Failure to order or read test results, such as x-rays, CT Scans, MRI’s, and laboratory tests.
- Unnecessary surgery.
- Poor aftercare.
When a severe injury occurs that results in permanent impact for the patient, the law allows victims to seek full compensation.
When should you file a medical malpractice claim?
When it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim, all states have different deadlines called Statutes of Limitations. These require patients to file claims promptly within the state’s civil court system.
Consult with a lawyer about the Statute of Limitations in your state. Always seek legal advice no matter how much time has passed since medical malpractice occurred.
The claim must have the following characteristics to be considered medical malpractice:
- The injury was a violation of the standard of care: A patient has the right to expect the proper quality of care. If the care provided deviates from community standards, then negligence has occurred.
- The injury was caused by negligent care: For a claim to be valid, the patient must prove he or she suffered a serious injury that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.
- The injury resulted in severe damages: For a case to be viable, the patient must show that significant damages resulted (permanent disability, physical pain and suffering, loss of future earning potential, etc.) due to negligence.
Medical malpractice cases can be highly complex, so it’s important to get representation from an experienced attorney to make a claim. Experienced lawyers can help you collect fair compensation, and empower you to prevent others from suffering similarly in the future.
How do you make a claim?
To make a claim, an experienced medical malpractice attorney must find evidence that the hospital was or doctor was actually negligent. Proving medical malpractice requires not just a firm understanding of the law, but also familiarity with how it applies to specific situations.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will gather medical records and conduct research relevant to the patient’s injuries. From there, they’ll build a case against the responsible parties. They may use high-tech visual tools, including animations, digital illustrations and videotaped depositions to recreate what happened, and to educate the jury when medical malpractice defendants try to present misleading information regarding a medical mistake.
Are you a victim of medical malpractice? Get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, you need attorneys who have dedicated their careers to representing victims of negligent medical care. Chicago-based Hurley McKenna & Mertz brings 75 years of combined experience to each medical malpractice case. For assistance making a claim, contact us today for a free consultation.