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.