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Putting your life and health in the hands of others, even if they are professionals, requires a great amount of trust. When you become the victim of medical negligence and that trust is broken, the result can be devastating. You will likely have many questions, from how to file a claim to how often juries side with plaintiffs. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to answer all of your questions and will also fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
As of a 2016 study published by John’s Hopkins University, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Thousands of claims stemming from these errors are filed every year by medical malpractice attorneys on behalf of their clients.
If you have been injured by your doctor, you likely have many questions regarding your potential claim and your next steps. Below are some commonly asked questions regarding medical malpractice. If you are interested in pursuing a claim, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a type of civil claim for professional negligence. It occurs when a healthcare professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient.
Healthcare professionals and providers have a duty to provide a certain standard of care, recognized by the profession, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients. When a medical professional deviates from this standard, they may be held liable for the resulting harm.
What Do I Do if I’m Injured by a Healthcare Provider?
If you believe you are victim of medical malpractice, the first thing you should do is have your injuries treated. Find another doctor to assess and treat your injuries. As a result of this new assessment, documentation separate from your original treatment can be added to your medical records; this documentation can help uncover the extent of your injury or illness.
After your treatment, be sure to obtain a copy of your medical records. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to use your records as evidence when pursing your claim or potential lawsuit. The sooner you give your lawyer your medical records, the better.
After treating your injuries, you should contact a medical injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will inform you that before filing your medical malpractice lawsuit, some steps must be taken, depending on the laws of the state in which you live. For example, your medical injury lawyer will use your medical records to seek the medical opinions of other professionals regarding your injuries; this is because, in some states, you will need to file an expert report along with your lawsuit, and your medical records are a crucial component of this report.
An experienced medical injury lawyer will be able to guide you through the entire process. Our medical malpractice attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience pursuing claims in multiple states and will be able to advise you of your next steps wherever you live.
Do I Have a Case?
Though your doctor is not responsible for every harm you suffer from treatment, they may be legally responsible if your harm or injury is the result of their deviation from the standard of care expected from medical professionals. It is important to note that dissatisfaction with the results of treatment does not imply malpractice.
For you to have a claim for medical malpractice, you must show that your physician or provider acted negligently in providing care, and that such negligence resulted in your injury or illness. In a case for medical malpractice, you must prove all four of the following elements:
- The healthcare professional owed a professional duty of care to you as a patient.
- He or she breached that professional duty of care either through negligence or omission.
- The breach was the cause of your injury or illness.
- Your injury or illness resulted in damages.
If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence and that you can prove the above elements, you should contact a medical injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced medical injury attorney will advise you of your rights and help you decide the best course of action.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit?
Each state has their own time limits for how long you have to file your medical malpractice lawsuit; these time limits are called statutes of limitations, and they differ from state to state. In each state there are also exceptions to each statute that may apply, to either extend or toll the limitation period. To understand how the statute of limitations works in your state, speak to a medical injury attorney in your area.
What Can You Recover?
Injuries stemming from medical negligence are not only emotionally taxing but may also be incredibly expensive. Not only are there the medical bills from your past treatment with the negligent doctor, but there are also the bills from the new treatment you needed because of the injury your first doctor caused. Furthermore, if your injury or illness has kept you out of work, your bills may be piling up and your savings may be depleted.
You may be able to recover these costs and more in the form of compensatory damages; compensatory damages cover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the direct, out-of-pocket costs associated with your injury or illness, such as additional doctor’s visits, physical therapy, medications, etc. Non-economic damages cover the physical and emotional toll of your injury or illness, such as mental anguish and pain and suffering.
Economic and non-economic costs you may recover through damages include:
- Current and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
If you want to pursue a claim and receive compensation, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine the extent of your economic and non-economic costs and will advise you on how best to proceed with your case in order to help you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Limits on What You Can Recover
Though there are a lot of costs you may recover for, in some states there are limits on the monetary amount you can recover. In some of those states, such as Texas, the limit is placed on the amount of non-economic damages (pain and suffering) you can recover. There are 37 states that place a cap on damages, while 17 do not. Speak with a medical injury attorney in your state to discuss the possible limitations on your compensatory damages.
How Often Do Juries Side With Victims of Medical Malpractice?
It is rare that a medical malpractice lawsuit makes it into the courtroom; your claim is more likely to end in a settlement than a verdict. According to findings from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, juries decide only about 7% of medical malpractice lawsuits. In those lawsuits, plaintiffs won only 27% of these trials, about one case in four; however, when the plaintiffs did win, the median award was $422,000, and 16% of the time, the award equaled or exceeded $1 million.
These statistics may seem disheartening, but they fail to recognize that many of the patients who lost at trial did not come away empty-handed. In some instances, more than one healthcare provider may be named in the lawsuit; some of the defendants, whose negligence is more concrete and provable than the others, will decide to settle before going to court, sometimes for major amounts of money, leaving the remaining defendant or defendants to proceed to trial. The evidence of negligence against the defendants who remain is usually weaker, which leads to a plaintiff’s loss.
You should not let these statistics discourage you from pursuing a claim. Speak with a medical injury attorney near you to discuss any concerns you may have. An attorney will advise you of your rights, the strength of your case, and help you decide how best to move forward.
How Zinda Law Group Can Help
The medical malpractice lawyers at Zinda Law Group have the experience and record of success you want in a lawyer who will be representing you. We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family during this difficult time. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees. This is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical negligence and would like to pursue a medical malpractice claim, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312. We’ll schedule your free consultation with one of our medical injury lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.