Life can take a drastic turn when one has suffered a medical malpractice injury. To make things worse, victims are always left in the dark on how to pursue the litigation process due to the dynamic and intimidating nature of such cases. The feelings of anger and frustration, as well as a dwindled financial state, is normally prevalent in the life of the victim – all at the time when the clock is running for you or your family to find the best medical malpractice attorney available to help you put your claim together and build the strongest case possible.
With such a claim, it’s practically impossible to navigate your way to justice alone; thus, a medical malpractice lawyer is a very resourceful individual who can help you pursue proper compensation for your injuries and damage. Here are some important aspects of a medical negligence case that can assist you, should you choose to seek justice.
Parties in a Medical Malpractice case
This is the person who is suing the medical institution or the physician. In an injury case, the plaintiff is typically the patient themselves, unless the patient was a minor, in which case an adult brings the case on behalf of the minor patient. If the malpractice caused the death of the patient, the law allows for specific, proper persons to file the lawsuit as the plaintiff on behalf of the deceased patient.
This refers to the person or entity being sued in a court of law for causing the medical injury to the victim. In a medical malpractice case, the potential defendants can include a particular doctor, a physicians’ practice group, a hospital, etc.
This is the side that wins the case; it can either be the plaintiff or the defendant. The side that loses the case becomes the ‘losing party’.
In order for a claim to be deemed as a viable malpractice case, the plaintiff has to be able to prove the following;
- A health care provider had a professional relationship with the patient that included providing certain care;
- The health care provider breached the expected standard of care which resulted in an injury (the provider was negligent and the negligence made things worse); and,
- The damages incurred directly impacted the physical, emotional or financial wellbeing of the victim for the worse.
The number one thing that anyone should be aware of is that medical negligence cases are time-limited; this is normally referred to as the “statute of limitations” period. This means that the law, and this varies from state to state, only allows the filing of medical malpractice cases to occur in a specific, limited window of time. Any cases filed beyond the identified time limit would be deemed unfit to be pursued – even if negligence occurred that caused a bad outcome. However, there are certain scenarios that give exceptions to this rule. In cases where the injury wasn’t obviously known, or where a doctor tried to cover up their heinous act, the court would give an extension to file the claim, but those situations are tougher than normal situations.
Another aspect one should take note of is that the time it takes to litigate medical malpractice cases normally tends to be longer. This is because a lot of time and effort goes into putting together and then litigating medical malpractice lawsuits. It is not like television or the movies where the outcome occurs weeks after an event. That is not what happens in real life.
Many medical negligence injuries aren’t evident immediately after the error has been done. A good example is when a surgeon leaves a surgical instrument in the body of the victim. On the flip side, in most states, the clock of filing the claim normally starts running when the victim realizes that harm was done to him or her when they did not know at the time that negligence was committed.
Errors that result in a medical malpractice case
There are a number of cases where negligence incidences could result in a lawsuit. Some examples of medical malpractice include ignoring or not considering available information to lead to a proper course of treatment, causing an injury during surgery by not being careful or taking the time necessary to do the best job possible, failing to properly communicate with another health care provider regarding who would handle certain aspects of key treatment going forward, etc.
Types of compensations
There are two major categories in which a plaintiff can be compensated; these include compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are separated into two categories: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses the victim incurred as a result of the injury, such as a decrease in earnings, life care expenses, and funeral expenses; while non-economic damages are compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of a relationship due to death, and permanent disfigurement or scarring.
This form of damage is normally awarded to the defendant for wrongful actions that are so egregious that additional damages on top of compensatory damages are available to punish the wrongdoer and to discourage others in the future from similar misconduct. Typically, misconduct that is fraudulent, intentional, reckless, or malicious can subject a defendant to punitive damages being awarded against them.
Medical malpractice cases are extremely challenging. These cases usually involve fierce battles, especially from the defendant’s side who normally have a team of attorneys. Therefore, it’s very important to get a lawyer who has a ton of experience as well as a good team of experts behind them in order for you to prevail in such a case. With the right attorney on your side, your odds are much stronger. Make a great choice for your attorney to help your side.