REPRESENTING VICTIMS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
The BMJ estimates that medical errors, on average, claim the lives of approximately 251,454 people each year in the United States. Compared to the leading causes of death annually in the Nation, deaths due to medical errors ranks third only behind heart disease and cancer. Medical malpractice does not always result in death. Thousands of people survive medical errors but are often left with debilitating, life-altering conditions and illnesses that greatly impact their quality of life. Sadly, many of the injuries caused by medical negligence are long-lasting and sometimes permanent.
Medical malpractice claims can help injured victims and their families recover damages for past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, and even pain and suffering. These types of claims can seem overwhelming and difficult to pursue, especially when dealing with a new injury or illness that may be causing you an exorbitant amount of physical and financial pain. Thomas J. Henry can help you and your family achieve the compensation you deserve. Our experienced injury lawyers have handled a multitude of unique medical malpractice cases, providing clients with dynamic and personal legal representation.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
- A doctor-patient relationship existed. This means you actually hired the doctor. For example, if you ask your friend who knows a doctor to ask for medical advice, you cannot file a claim against that doctor because he or she never treated you, thus no doctor-patient relationship actually existed.
- The doctor was negligent. The doctor was not reasonably skillful and careful in your diagnosis or treatment. You must be able to show the doctor caused you harm in a way a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have.
- The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. It must be proven it was the doctor’s negligence, not a pre-existing condition, that caused you harm. The patient must show it is “more likely than not” that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused the injury. This is where it helps to have a medical expert involved in your case.
- The injury led to specific damages. Even if it is clear the doctor performed below the expected standards in his or her field, the patient can only sue for malpractice if the injury led to actual harm. For example, if a doctor incorrectly prescribed a medication, but there were no adverse side-effects, pain, or complications, it would be reasonable to say it would be impractical to file a medical malpractice suit. Damages that can form the basis of a claim may include:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Additional medical bills
- Lost work and lost earning capacity
COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
There are many different situations that can lead to a medical malpractice claim. Examples include misdiagnosis, failing to notify a patient of a disorder or disease, or even leaving a surgical instrument in a patient’s body. Some common medical malpractice claims include:
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- This occurs when a doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis or makes a diagnosis too late for the recommended treatment to help the patient.
- Diagnosis mistakes can cause the patient to miss treatment opportunities that could have prevented serious harm or death.
- As with most medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must prove a competent doctor would have not made the same mistake.
- Negligent prenatal care most often includes failure to diagnose medical conditions of the mother, birth defects, or diseases that can be transferred from mother to fetus.
- Negligence during childbirth can also cause childbirth injuries. Negligence can include failure to respond to fetal distress, incompetent use of forceps or vacuum extractors, and failure to anticipate or act on birthing complications.
- Doctors can make a mistake in type of medication or dosage prescribed.
- The person who fills the prescription or administers the medication can also make filling errors and dosage mistakes.
- If medication is administered via equipment, mistakes can be made if the equipment malfunctions or is defective.
When it comes to anesthesia, one small error often has devastating consequences. Common causes of anesthesia errors include:
- A doctor’s failure to investigate medical history or monitor vital signs.
- An anesthesiologist giving too much or not enough anesthesia.
- Defective equipment or improper intubation.
There are a number of things that can go wrong before, during, and after surgery.
- During pre-op, failure to inform patients of risks can lead a patient to agree to a surgery without understanding the severity of complications that could arise.
- Negligence during operation can include leaving surgical tools in body, performing the wrong surgical procedure, or operating on the wrong body part.
- Negligence in post-op care could lead to infections or other serious complications.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE STATISTICS
- An estimated 210,000 – 400,000 deaths each year are associated with medical errors (British Medical Journal)
- Only heart disease (614,348) and cancer (591,699) claim more lives each year in the United States than medical errors
- Medical errors cause more deaths each year than unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- The total medical malpractice payout amount for 2016 in the United States was $3.84 billion (Diederich Healthcare)
RETAINING THE BEST EXPERT WITNESSES FOR YOUR MEDICAL ERROR LAWSUIT
At Thomas J. Henry, we are intent on putting every client in the best position possible to recover the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries. Medical malpractice claims are no different in that our firm retains the best expert witnesses from across the United States for each case. Expert witnesses are retained to provide reports and testimony in front of judges, lawyers, and insurance companies in trials and arbitration. At Thomas J. Henry, only the most qualified experts are retained. Each expert is questioned and examined thoroughly before ever participating in a case.
Finding the right expert and the best expert for your unique case can be crucial in its success. Our experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers will determine which experts could bring invaluable information regarding your injury. Experts that may be retained in a medical malpractice lawsuit include:
- Cardiology experts
- Ear, nose, and throat experts
- Economic damages experts
- Emergency medicine experts
- Infectious disease experts
- Life care plan experts
- Occupational therapists
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery experts
- Psychiatry experts
- Rehabilitation specialists
- Wound care physicians
Thomas J. Henry is continuously researching innovative and intuitive ways to use experts in medical malpractice cases.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a medical error, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our firm has a proven track record of winning large cases for severely injured clients for more than 25 years. Thomas J. Henry has the experienced medical malpractice lawyers and the legal and financial resources necessary to properly develop your case. Our dedication and determination is reflected in the record-breaking results we have helped our clients achieve. Call us today for a free case review – our legal professionals are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
RECENT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE RESULT
$10.9 MillionExpenses: $175,000.00 | Attorneys Fees: $3,200,000.00 | Net to Client: $4,029,762.00 (Purchase of a Lifetime Annuity)
RECENT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE RESULT
$12.7 MillionExpenses: $300,000.00 | Attorneys Fees: $2,000,000.00 | Net to Client: $10.4 Million (Purchase of a Lifetime Annuity)
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Do you have questions regarding a potential case of medical malpractice? Check out the following FAQs. If you don’t find your answer below, contact us and speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at anytime.
- How much does it cost to speak with you about my situation?
We never charge for an initial consultation and for a review of the facts surrounding your case. Personal injury cases normally involve a contingency fee agreement- the client agrees to pay a specified percent of the recovery (which sometimes varies depending on whether a lawsuit settles early or the matter goes to trial or is appealed). If there is no recovery there is no fee, and the attorney normally absorbs any expenses which have been advanced on the case. Contact Thomas J. Henry to discuss your personal injury case for free.
- My baby was born with a birth defect. Do I have a case?
You may have a case. The most tragic injuries can happen during birth. Sometimes the birth injury is caused by negligence or malpractice. When this is the case, the pain and suffering and financial burden it causes can be eased by an award that compensates you for the full consequences of the injury and its long-term effects. In most cases, both the baby and the parents have the right to compensation. The first step when dealing with a tragedy like this is to talk with an experienced birth injury attorney.
- How do I know if a doctor made a mistake or if the birth injury was a natural act?
In most cases, you won’t know whether your circumstances give rise to a valid medical malpractice claim until you have talked to an experienced birth injury lawyer. Doctors and medical facilities are governed by detailed professional standards of care during prenatal, delivery and postnatal stages of pregnancy and birth. Anytime medical professionals fail to follow accepted procedures, injuries can result, and the doctors and hospital can be held accountable for medical malpractice.
- Can you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against someone other than a doctor?
A medical malpractice suit can be brought against most licensed health care professionals. This includes physicians, specialists, emergency room doctors, registered nurses, anesthesiologists, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, and physical therapists, to name just a few. The medical corporation or hospital where the individual works can also be sued.
- How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
Usually, in order to make a viable case for malpractice, you need to first establish the applicable standard of care that was appropriate to the circumstances. That means the level of care and skill that your doctor (or whoever harmed you) should have acted with, based on accepted medical practices in the same community. Next, you need to show exactly how the defendant deviated from that standard in treating you, and precisely how you were harmed by the provision of substandard care. In most medical malpractice lawsuits, all of these elements need to be established by a qualified expert medical witness.
- What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligent treatment by medical providers, such as a doctor, hospital, nurse, chiropractor, therapist, or other medical practitioner. If a medical practitioner fails to act in accordance with accepted standards of practice in the diagnosis or treatment of a condition, they may be responsible for all damages that result.
- What damages can I recover in a medical malpractice case?
Where injury results, the damages include medical bills, both past and future, wage loss, both past and future, and past and future pain and suffering, as well as any disfigurement caused by the malpractice. In wrongful death cases, damages include medical bills, loss of support for family members, and loss of the aid, comfort, society, and companionship that the deceased person would have provided to the family members had he or she lived.
- What is meant by "a breach of the standard of care" in a medical malpractice case?
Standard of care is the expected method of treating a condition, injury, or disease. Failing to follow that standard of care is negligence or in other words, medical malpractice.
- Do medical malpractice cases take a long time to resolve?
The length of a medical malpractice lawsuits can vary greatly from case to case. Variables that affect the length of time a case takes include complexity of the case, the willingness of the insurance company for the doctor, hospital, nurse, chiropractor or other medical practitioner to resolve the case, and how long it takes to fully determine your damages from the medical malpractice.
- I signed a consent form prior to the surgery that left me with injuries. Can I still recover damages in a malpractice claim or lawsuit?
Yes. All that the consent form is doing is indicating that you have been informed of risks of the procedures. If the doctor is negligent in performing the care or surgery, you may still recover against that physician.
- Why do I need a medical malpractice lawyer for my case?
Medical malpractice cases are complicated, expensive, and are invariably hard-fought. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a layperson to have the expertise necessary to prepare for a medical malpractice case. Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources necessary to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits.
- I think I’ve been the victim of medical malpractice. What should I do?
It is generally a good idea to start documenting. Document what exactly happened during the procedure and everything that occurs afterward. Take as many notes as you can regarding the surgery or procedure, lab results, and MRI or CT scan results. Receive a copy of your medical records and charts, too. Document the names of your doctors, nurses, surgeons, and any other healthcare professionals involved. Keeping a record and documenting these items may help your cause if a malpractice lawsuit is necessary. Our medical malpractice lawyers can assist you in collecting evidence and documenting, so it is important to contact Thomas J. Henry as soon as you can.
- Is medical negligence a common occurrence?
Medical errors occur at a higher rate than originally believed. According to the British Medical Journal, an estimated 210,00 – 400,000 deaths each year are associated with medical errors. With an estimated 251,454 deaths in 2014 alone, medical errors would be the third leading cause of death in the United States behind only heart disease and cancer.