Medical Malpractice Questions
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional's failure to act prudently results in harm or damage to a patient. If the harm resulted due to a deviation from generally accepted standards of practice or a provably negligent act or omission, the medical professional may be found legally liable for said harm.
What are some examples of medical malpractice?
Examples of medical malpractice include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, prescription errors, birth injuries, and nursing home neglect, among numerous others. They can be perpetrated not only by doctors, but also by hospitals, clinics, nurses, lab technicians, paramedics, psychologists, and other medical professionals.
How many patients die as a result of medical malpractice?
Nearly 100,000 people die, and thousands more suffer illness or are injured as a result of medical malpractice each year. Yet despite these sobering facts, it is estimated that only two percent of victims of medical malpractice seek compensation through legal action.
Who can file a medical malpractice claim?
Anyone who has been harmed or suffers a medical condition as a result of a medical professional's negligence or wrongdoing is entitled to file a medical malpractice claim. In the event that medical malpractice leads to birth injury or harm to a child, the child or newborn's family may seek compensation. If medical malpractice results in wrongful death, the decedent's dependents and beneficiaries may seek damages.
What damages could I recover in a medical malpractice case?
Economic damages that may be recovered include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost or diminished earning capacity
- Funeral and related expenses
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages for which compensation may be awarded include:
- Past, present and future pain and suffering
- Disability and disfigurement
- Punitive damages (in case of gross or intentional acts - intended to prevent the defendant and others from committing similar acts)
Should I get a lawyer if I suspect that a loved one or I have been harmed as a result of medical malpractice?
Although most medical malpractice cases settle, less of them do so than other personal injury cases. This is in part because insurance companies know that since medical malpractice cases tend to be relatively complex, expensive, and lengthy, plaintiffs are less likely to see them through.
Some states require that you first try to resolve your case through mediation or arbitration. A qualified legal expert can evaluate every aspect of your case, present options, and explain their potential consequences and benefits. But be aware that each state also has different statutes of limitations, or time limits by which you must file a case, so we suggest that you at least consult with an attorney sooner, rather than later.