Unfortunately, just because one of these things occurs does not mean you have a claim. Medicine is not an exact science, and the law does not obligate doctors to be error-free 100 percent of the time. If doctor error occurs but there is no breach of a standard of care, you may not have a strong claim. If however, doctor error occurs and there is a breach of a standard of care, then malpractice may have occurred.
In the example above, emotional stress would include the plaintiff’s embarrassment or depression as a result of disfigurement. Likewise, the plaintiff would be compensated if the jury finds that the plaintiff has suffered a permanent loss of function or impairment from the jaw bone injury. The jury would also be permitted to consider the loss of ability of enjoy life’s pleasures such as eating or even kissing. Note that this requires proof of what the plaintiff did and what they enjoyed before the injury. A jury can also consider the expected length of the plaintiff’s life, lifestyle habits, and whether the plaintiff was generally healthy before the incident to determine how much to award.
To file a certificate of merit you must first contact an expert, usually another physician. This expert will review your medical records and certify that the original health care provider deviated from accepted medical practices, which resulted in your injuries. The attorney that you hire will now file the certificate of merit, which confirms that you spoke with a medical expert and that your action has merit.
When deciding whether to file a medical malpractice claim, it's important to find out how much time you have to legally bring the claim. All civil claims, including medical malpractice cases, have time limits as to when they must be filed. These limits, called “statutes of limitations,” require you to file your claim within a certain time period from when the injury occurred, or risk waiving your rights to recover money for your injuries.
3. Finally, hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities (e.g., burn units, specialized cardiac care units) must accept transfer patients from other hospitals if the specialized hospital has the capacity to treat them. This provision of EMTALA stops reverse dumping, where specialized hospitals won’t take indigent patients from other hospitals.
First, you need to figure out what the legal wrong was that you believe could form the basis for a lawsuit. Once you have figured out what it might be, you will need to research the elements of the case. Just because you feel certain something is wrong and should be addressed by the courts does not mean that it will resolve itself. You have to go through some very specific processes to secure your rights, and failing to do so could jeopardize your claim. These rules and procedures are not secret, and are actually quite easily found, but only if you know what you are looking for, where to look, and that you even need to look in the first place. This is why most people opt to hire an attorney rather than run a case on their own. Attorneys are specially trained and familiar with these procedures, and much less likely to miss something than someone without this experience who is trying to navigate this process for the first time.
The timeline involved is going to be important should you have a diagnosis of cancer for a few reasons. You mentioned 2 years went by from the time you were told you had a UTI until you were told you might have Bladder cancer? Is that correct? You were seen 6 times over the course of 2 years and diagnosed with a UTI every time? How many times were cultures taken? How much time was it from when your culture came back negative until you were told you may have cancer? Answers to these questions are necessary in order to have a better understanding of the facts and potential theories of negligence.
98% of the population are not the “type of people to sue”. However, when you or your loved one has been injured through the negligence of another person, you have basic responsibilities to ensure that medical bills are paid, lost wages are recovered, future medical expenses are paid – and if there is a physical disability, you must ensure that you or your loved one is compensated for the dramatic change in your life.
The incident that caused the stress must have been due to extreme or outrageous negligence and that the actions caused you emotional harm. For example, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in which a family member was killed, you may be able to file a claim for emotional distress due to the negligence of the driver in getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.
Loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on the injured party’s ability to provide love, affection, companionship, or services. People often think that loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on a married couple’s sexual relationship. But it’s broader than that. Many states now allow children and parents, in addition to spouses, to bring loss of consortium claims. Note that the person who would sue for loss of consortium is the spouse, parent or child of the person who was injured.
A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence. Skillful doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when using reasonable care. The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis. This means looking at the "differential diagnosis" method the doctor used in making treatment determinations.
After you have done everything else, you should also meet with your doctor or the hospital officials. Even if you are not going to bring a medical malpractice case, you should try to negotiate with them one-on-one to see if they will waive some of your medical bills or compensate you in some way. You should bring an attorney with you if possible, but always remember that you should never sign any kind of legal document or waiver without an attorney looking it over first.
Ways an accident has affected you can be very personal in nature. For instance, an injury victim may have been a member of a bowling league with her spouse for twenty years prior to an accident occurring. They bowled together every Thursday evening with their friends and this weekly ritual became a cornerstone of bonding in their marriage. Following the accident however, the injury victim suffered neck injuries that prevented her from being able to bowl. She begins to feel isolated from her spouse and her friends. Thursday evenings are now spent utilizing heating pads and taking prescription narcotics in attempts to alleviate the pain.
“A significant problem with the court process, as it stands, is the determination of life expectancy (especially with babies), which is fraught with difficulties. Parents may receive too much or too little compensation; causing strain for the system or unnecessary financial duress for parents. Medical expense awards are also estimated at private-patient rates (as much as 50 percent higher than medical scheme rates) – unnecessarily so, as most patients have medical scheme membership, with an already agreed, reasonable tariff,” Kellerman says.
Many people mistakenly choose to file medical malpractice lawsuits because they are unhappy with the results of their treatment. However, a poor result -- even death -- does not always equate to malpractice. Medicine is an inexact science. Even the most routine procedure can result in complications both foreseen and unforeseen. There are no guarantees that any treatment, no matter how commonplace, will be successful. As such, it is possible -- and even common when it comes to some procedures -- for doctors to do everything right and still fail to obtain a good result.