Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer to Represent You in Your Radiology Error Claim
By David Carnes, Staff Writer
Thousands of radiology errors occur each year in the United States, and a significant number of these result in serious injury. A radiology error claim is a type of medical malpractice claim. It is a difficult claim that requires expert witnesses and extensive experience litigating radiology error lawsuits. Medical malpractice claims are difficult to win because doctors and hospitals are likely to mount a vigorous defense against an attack on their reputations.
Types of Radiology Errors
The term “radiology” refers to a family of medical diagnostic devices that use radiation or similar technology such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, sonograms and ultrasounds. Specialists must be carefully trained to interpret the radiographic images that are produced by these devices. Common errors that lead to medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Failing to detect a medical abnormality (leading to delayed diagnosis of a potentially serious condition such as cancer)
- Misinterpreting the results of a radiology scan by, for example, mistaking a malignant tumor for something more harmless
- Failing to promptly and clearly communicate the results of a radiology scan to the attending physician or other responsible caregiver
- Failing to promptly and clearly communicate the results of a radiology scan to the patient or the patient’s family
Radiology Error Lawsuits
To win a radiology error lawsuit, you will need to file a formal complaint with the appropriate court, gather medical evidence from the defendant and third parties (including physical evidence, documentary evidence and out-of-court witness testimony) through the pretrial discovery process, examine and cross-examine witnesses in court, and comply with the civil procedure and evidence rules. You will need to accurately calculate both your present and future damages, which can be difficult if your injury is a lifelong condition.
If your condition was made more serious or result of a delayed diagnosis, you may have a claim for the aggravation of the condition or disease and the increased medical expenses and pain and suffering. If the victim of the radiology error died as a result of his injuries, a close relative or (in some states) the estate executor can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on state law you may be able to recover for the victim’s medical expenses and physical suffering as well as your own emotional suffering and loss of financial support. Other expenses, such a funeral and burial expenses, might also be recoverable.
Suing vs. Settling
Notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of radiology lawsuits are ultimately settled out of court, it is regarded as a truism that all bargaining takes place in the shadow of the law. What is meant by this is that a defendant (or potential defendant) is not likely to settle with you for any more than the amount he thinks he would lose if you won a lawsuit against him.
For this reason, you need to prepare and litigate your case for trial to motivate the defendant to settle for an amount that approaches the value of your claim. You will almost certainly be negotiating against experienced defense lawyers and insurance industry executives who are highly motivated to minimize the settlement amount. For this reason, it is essential that you work with an experienced radiology error attorney who can represent you and ensure that you receive the full value of your claim or take the case to a jury.
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