Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer, so when a doctor is being negligent or incompetent while treating you, you better watch out. The bad news is that even good doctors make mistakes, and those mistakes can mean for you huge costs in both the financial and emotional departments.
Fortunately, a special breed of attorneys known as medical malpractice lawyers are here to help. Known the signs when it is time for you to contact one for that free consultation.
What is a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice lawyer is a personal injury attorney specialized in representing patients severely hurt by the negligence or incompetence of medical practitioners. They may also represent the families of patients that have deceased as a result of medical malpractice in bid to recover compensation for any economic loss spurred by their loved one’s death and for their pain and suffering.
Medical malpractice is a violation of the standard of care caused by a health professional’s or entity’s negligence that has caused an injury in a patient that would not have happened in the absence of that negligence.
Medical doctors are usually the first ones to be held liable for medical malpractice, but nurses, nurse practitioners, technicians, therapists, and doctor’s assistants can also be sued. In some cases, even hospitals can be held liable for medical malpractice either for their gross negligence, like failing to provide the proper tools for a medical procedure, or for the negligence of their employees (for example, if the hospital management had known that a certain doctor was incompetent, but they still hired him.)
Medical malpractice includes human errors in administering treatment or making a diagnosis, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, failure to get the patient’s informed consent before performing a medical procedure, failure to take action, delays in treatment, poor workforce decisions, poor aftercare, and more.
5 Signs You Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer:
A misdiagnosis/ delayed diagnosis has severely harmed you:
A delayed diagnosis can be deadly, while a misdiagnosis which has led to improper treatment or a delay in your treatment can lead to severely life-altering consequences that could have been prevented if the doctor weren’t so negligent (or incompetent).
If you were severely injured or maimed in the wake of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it is time to hire a medical malpractice attorney. And don’t fall for insurance companies’ tactics of lowering your claim. An attorney can increase the value of your claim ten-fold if you play your cards right.
Medication error has made your condition worse or has caused other complications:
Prescribing the wrong treatment can do more harm than not prescribing any treatment at all. It is estimated that $1,5 million Americans are harmed by wrong medication every year, which results in $3.5 billion economic losses. Also, medication errors usually needlessly prolong hospital stays for up to 4.7 days. If you or a loved one received the wrong treatment which has caused you new conditions or made your old condition worse, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, extra medical costs, and your pain and suffering.
A medication error is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if the medical professional’s misconduct has caused the wrongful death of a loved one.
The botched surgical procedure has caused you severe harm:
Around 4,000 surgical errors occur each year in the United states. It might not seem much, but surgical errors are some of the deadliest of all medical errors. The most common surgical errors include:
- Wrong site: The doctor operates the wrong body part
- Wrong procedure: A patient has undergone a medical procedure that had nothing to do with his or her diagnosis
- Wrong patient: Doctors perform surgery on the wrong patient (yes, those do happen)
These three are the so-called “never events” as they are medical mistakes that should never happen due to their devastating consequences for a patient.
Other surgical errors include anesthesia mistakes, damage done to other organs or tissue during surgery, improper sterilization of medical instruments which has led to infection, erroneously leaving medical tools in a patient’s body, failure to properly treat post-surgery complications such as bleeding or infections, failure to diagnose a life-threatening condition discovered during surgery.
A medical professional’s inaction (or delayed action) has caused you severe harm:
If a medical professional’s inaction has breached the standard of care he or she is held to and has caused you severe harm, it is time for you to call a medical malpractice lawyer. A delayed treatment or failure to act can make your condition worse or even put your life at risk. It may also lead to hefty medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses that could have been avoided if the medical professional wouldn’t have failed to act.
A medical malpractice attorney has the knowledge and experience to tell you whether a doctor’s failure to preform a medical procedure is grounds for legal action.
Negligent doctor/midwife caused you or your baby serious injuries during childbirth:
Birth injuries are some of the most devastating medical errors as they can cripple a child for life and leave a mother mentally scarred beyond repair. A negligent medical professional can harm your newborn baby in ways that can leave it paralyzed, mentally impaired, or even dead.
Birth injuries can also affect mothers even if their pregnancies are deemed “normal.” Some birth injuries to the mother can be so devastating that they may lead to severe mental illness, relationship breakdowns, and ruined careers.
Birth injuries can be permanent or temporary, with the permanent ones sometimes requiring therapy and around-the-clock care for a lifetime. Whether the nature of the injury is temporary or permanent also dictates the settlement amount when filing a medical malpractice claim. That’s why it is critical to discuss with a medical malpractice attorney first to not have your claim devalued by the insurance company or the defendant’s attorneys.