November 20, 2017

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Medical Malpractice Law

Medical malpractice refers to that area of law that deals with the negligent treatment of health patients. Malpractice claims must typically be brought within a short period of time after the injury, so it is important to consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney. View qualified Medical Malpractice Law Firms in your area to find Medical Malpractice Lawyers (Med Mal Lawyers).

Professional Negligence

In order to prevail on your medical malpractice claim, you will have to prove the following:

  • The medical professional (doctor, surgeon, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) had a duty to perform the medical procedure or provide you with care according to the standards and using the methods of your local medical community.
  • He/she failed to meet that duty, such as by failing to properly and timely diagnose an illness.
  • Your injuries were the direct result of his/her failure (proximate cause).
  • The amount of your damages.

Unique Issues

Unlike in typical negligence cases, there are two additional issues common to medical malpractice cases:

  1. Proximate cause almost always has to be proven through the testimony of an expert witness (one who generally shares the qualifications, education and experience of the defendant) who will testify that your health care provider treated you unreasonably (and far below the standards in your community)
  2. The statute of limitations (the time period in which you have to bring your suit) may be tolled (extended) during that time when you were unaware of your injury and could not reasonably have been expected to discover it (such as if a sponge was left in your body after surgery). The discovery rule is applied differently throughout the states, and it may not apply to your particular case.

Damages

  • Pain and suffering, including physical, emotional and mental pain
  • Medical expenses for past and future treatment you need because of the malpractice
  • Loss of consortium for your spouse for losing your comfort, care and companionship, either temporarily or permanently
  • Loss of earnings for past lost wages and future lost earnings from long-term or permanent injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life for when you could not engage in hobbies or other pleasurable activities.
  • Punitive damages are awarded in rare circumstances for wanton and willful negligence
  • Wrongful death damages are awarded to the families of victims who die as a result of medical malpractice

Costs

Typically, although most malpractice attorneys will represent you on a contingency fee basis (meaning they will get a proportion of any recovery you receive, and are not paid if you lose), you may be required to pay for the costs of your lawsuit, such as

  • Initial fees, including for filing and service of the documents
  • Deposition fees, such as those charged by the court reporter
  • Expert fees, such as the hourly rates the experts charge for attending meetings, depositions and court hearings
  • Clerical costs, such as the costs of copying medical records and mailing documents between the attorneys

Most states set limits, but contingent fees may range from 25% to 50%, with 33% – 40% being the industry standard.

Related areas:

Personal Injury, Litigation, Wrongful Death, Hospital Lawsuits, Med Mal Lawyers, Birth Injury, Medical Negligence, Pharmaceutical Law Firms, Prescription Drug Law Firms