A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine found medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to medical malpractice insurance giant Deitrich Healthcare, medical malpractice payouts totaled $3.9 billion in 2014.
Wondering whether you have been the victim of medical malpractice? Take this quiz to learn more.
Q: Did you have a medical outcome that was not anticipated or expected?
If you, or someone you love, has suffered an unintended medical result, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. An “unintended medical result” is an outcome different from the one you and your family expected. Some examples are:
- A child born with a brain injury after an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy
- Back surgery that results in paralysis
- A hospital admission that results in a pulmonary embolism
- An emergency room visit for chest pain that results in discharge and a heart attack a few days later
- An undiagnosed cancer
- A colonoscopy that results in a ruptured intestine
- Being given the wrong medication
Q: Can you establish a doctor-patient relationship?
This may seem obvious, but the plaintiff must be able to establish that the physician defendant was hired to perform a medical procedure. Hospital records are the easiest method to prove the doctor-patient relationship.
Q: What was the appropriate medical standard of care and did the medical provider fall short of that standard?
The courts in most states require a qualified medical expert to answer this question. A medical expert will determine the skill and attention your medical provider should have demonstrated while taking care of you. If the medical expert believes your medical provider fell short of the standard expectations of care and this failure caused you harm, you may have a case. Finding the right medical expert to evaluate your case is very difficult to do by yourself. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers will connect you with the right medical expert to help make your case.
Q: When did the medical procedure in question occur?
Most States have a Statute of Limitations that restricts how long a plaintiff can wait to file a claim. These time limits vary from state to state, but are generally two or three years from the time of the medical procedure that caused the harm. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can advise you on the time limits for your state.
Q: Was the doctor negligent?
An unhappy patient does not translate into malpractice. Instead, negligence is shown by proving that the physician caused harm that a similarly trained physician would not have caused. A medical expert can help prove that the physician fell short of standard medical care, misdiagnosed the situation, chose the incorrect form of treatment, or incorrectly administered the chosen treatment.
Q: Did the physician and staff thoroughly explain all known health risks?
Health care providers have a duty to thoroughly inform you of all known risks and side effects of any procedure or medical therapy. If you were:
- Misinformed about your care plan
- Injured as a result of the care you chose; and
- Can show that the correct information would have caused you to have made a different choice about your care, you may be entitled to compensation
Q: Did your condition worsen as a result of malpractice?
Many plaintiffs suing for medical malpractice were already ill when they sought medical care. Therefore, it must be shown that the doctor’s mistake specifically caused additional physical pain, lost work time, medical costs, or mental anguish over and above what would have been caused by the medical condition alone.
The lawyers at D’Amore Personal Injury Law have decades of experience with medical negligence cases in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area.