The Path To Recovery: Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Recovering after doctor malpractice

Medical malpractice and medical negligence have become much too common in the United States.  A comprehensive study performed by Johns Hopkins University found that “medical error” is the 3rd leading cause of death behind only heart disease and cancer.  Malpractice is now responsible for 251,000 lives every year.  This is ahead of respiratory disease, accidents, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.

If an injury results from an act of medical malpractice, our lawyers might be able to bring a lawsuit against the party responsible for negligence.  This can include the medical doctor who overlooked your care, the practicing nurse during your visit, the hospital, and/or the actual medical facility.  In order for medical malpractice to actually take place, the medical provider gives treatment that doesn’t “pass” a certain standard of care.  This lack of providing a standard of care put you the patient at risk of injury or even death.  Medical malpractice cases can be very complex, but if the medical provider actions are different from those with similar training, they might be held liable for the corresponding injuries and costs.

Have you been injured by a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare provider?  If you are in fact a victim of malpractice, you will likely be able to recover financial compensation.  Simply fill out our confidential contact form or give us a call for a free review of your case. One of our medical malpractice attorneys will get back to you shortly and let you know if you have a case.

Why You Need an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Malpractice lawyer vs. doctorMedical malpractice cases are usually much more complex than other personal injury lawsuits.  They are the most difficult to prove in court and it takes a law firm that has the massive resources required to build a great case against a vigorous defense from well versed malpractice insurance attorneys.  We have the medical knowledge, medical experts, and the financial resources to build a compelling and winning case.

Unfortunately, the law of medical malpractice is the most complex area of the law there is both legally and factually.  In order to even attempt to bring a medical malpractice claim in that state of Michigan, the case must be reviewed by a medical expert that is qualified in the area of medicine which the doctor or nurse being sued is an expert in.  There is requirement that a notice of intent to file suit be served on the defendant which outlines the facts theory and damages of the medical malpractice before suit is even allowed to be filed. Before a malpractice case is filed, it must be certified by a doctor that meets the same specialty as the doctor being sued, who has an active treating practice.  Finding qualified doctors to testify against a treating physician is difficult and a specialty of the law in of itself.

Therefore, it is important to have your case reviewed by seasoned legal counsel and medical staff prior to even bringing suit.  This requires the need to gather medical records, statements and other information just to work up the case.  The case must be reviewed from every angle, including the availability of medical malpractice insurance.  Most people believe that doctors are rich and thus there is plenty of money in case of a medical error.  In today’s world, most doctors practice in corporate form and have trusts and other legal means to hide assets from collection.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

A winning medical malpractice case involves a lot more than a simple mistake made by a doctor, nurse, or facility.  There are 5 major elements that need to be in place to succeed in your medical malpractice lawsuit.

The existence of a Patient/Doctor Relationship – If you plan on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to show that the patient and the healthcare provider had a real physician-patient relationship.  The patient must have hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to work with the patient.  If the healthcare provider is not currently employed, the provider cannot be sued for acts performed outside the scope of employment.

Duty of Care – The medical community have accepted standards and medical providers are required to perform their job while following these standards.  Doctors and other healthcare providers have a legal duty to act in the same manner that another doctor or healthcare provider would.

Breach of Duty – The duty of care listed above must have been violated in order for health providers to be considered negligent.  In order to violate the duty of care, they have failed to perform how another provider would have done in the same situation.

Causation – This simply means that injured patients must also prove that the medical provider breach of duty was the actual cause of the injury.  Showing a relationship between the doctor’s negligence and your injury can be done through medical documents, future treatments, and affidavits from follow-up health providers.

Damages – Your injury that was caused by a medical provider’s negligence must also have caused non-economic or economic damages.  This translates to meaning that doctors are not liable unless you have incurred additional medical expenses, wage loss, decreased earning capacity, or pain and suffering.

Here’s a quick example.  Let’s say that you go the emergency room complaining of severe stomach pain.  You will be looked at and examined by a medical professional.  This professional will then use this information to make the best course of treatment.  This establishes the patient/doctor relationship.  As a medical professional, he or she has a duty of care to all patients.  If the doctor makes the decision that you will need surgery to remove the appendix, he has a duty to conduct this operation as any other reasonable doctor given the same circumstances.  A breach of duty is a act or omission that is negligent on the part of the surgeon.  This could include removing the wrong body part or leaving a medical tool inside your body.  If you incur an injury during or after the surgery, you must be able prove that the doctor’s negligence was the direct cause which resulted in measurable damages.

What Can The Clark Law Office Do For You?

If your doctor’s negligence resulted in an injury to you or a loved one, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can assist in filing a lawsuit to get the financial compensation that you deserve for your losses.  If you decide to proceed with legal action, we will thoroughly prepare your claim by doing the following:

  • Analyze and Review all information given to us to determine if you have a malpractice claim
  • Collect additional medical documents and evidence that support your claim
  • Make a determination of the value of your claim
  • Discovering potential parties that could be held liable
  • Explain and help you understand both your legal right and your legal options going forward
  • Handling any technical issues or procedures that the State of Michigan might have

Even though the factual information and evidence may be overwhelmingly in your favor, the actual strength of your case will usually be determined by the ability of your attorney to prove causation.  At The Clark Law Office, our attorneys have experience and know how to collect, present, and thoroughly explain supporting evidence, criticize expert witnesses, and attack claims made by the defense through creative and intelligent means.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

There are many forms of medical practice.  Here are some common examples of medical malpractice that might lead to a lawsuit:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
  • Incorrectly reading lab results
  • Performing surgery that is unnecessary
  • Giving the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage
  • No follow-up care or poor care following treatment
  • Allowing the patient to be discharged early
  • No performing patient evaluation or disregarding history
  • Failure to order correct testing for the patient
  • Failure to discover or recognize symptoms

Medical Malpractice Damages

malpractice-damagesIn order to compensate the victim for the injury and harm caused by a healthcare professional’s negligence, damages are awarded to the patient.  These can also be called compensatory medical negligence damages and the intended effect is to make the patient “whole” and give financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.  Some economic damages that might be covered include the following:

Medical Expenses – This type of damages cover a wide variety of medical costs which can include stays at the hospital, visits to the doctor, physiotherapy, prescription medication, and other similar expenses that you will occur as a result of the injury.  In some instances, the patient is also awarded additional compensation for future medical expenses.

Wage Loss – If your medical malpractice injury caused you to miss work in or to recover, you might be able to recover compensation to offset these losses dollar for dollar.

Decreased Earning Capacity – In many of our cases, the victim is unable to perform the same duties at his/her job.  You can be awarded compensation for a loss of earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering – Most people are familiar with this term and the same concept applies here.  Damages for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice case can include physical pain, severe emotional distress, anxiety, fear, and other mental anguish that usually occurs after a traumatic malpractice injury.

Loss of Consortium – If you are the victim of medical malpractice and are married, your spouse may be able to receive financial compensation for the loss of marital benefits.  Marital benefits that are lost can include loss of companionship, loss of sexual relations, and others.  Loss of consortium damages are usually only awarded in the most severe cases such as life changing or permanent injuries.

If medical professionals perform diagnosis and/or treatment with GROSS NEGLIGENCE,injured patients might be able to recover punitive damages from the responsible parties.  These punitive medical malpractice damages are intended to severely punish the responsible pary and deter others from engaging in a similar fashion.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Anesthesia Errors

  • The negligent anesthesiologist can be held liable if one of their patients becomes injures or dead as a result of their actions.  There are many ways an anesthesiologist can be negligent which include:
  • Giving medication that are known to negatively interact with each other
  • Administering a medication that the patient is allergic to
  • Giving the wrong drug altogether to the patient
  • Failure to monitor important vital signs
  • Failure to act when vital signs change significantly
  • Incorrect use of medical equipment
  • Use of equipment that is defective or faulty
  • Not informing their patient of vital instructing about the medical procedure

Local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia all carry different amount of risks and possible complications.  Make sure that you discuss any and all concerns that you may have BEFORE the day of the operation.  Another possibility is named anesthesia awareness.  This is when a patient wakes up during the surgery but is still under anesthesia.  Imagine being able to see and feel the surgery but not being able to tell you’re surgeon that you are awake!  If you or a loved one has endured an anesthesia error, you may be entitled to financial compensation for both physical and mental injuries.

Emergency Room Errors

Even though the emergency room is usually chaotic and busy, the ER doctors are still held responsible to uphold a very high standard of medical care for all patients.  Even with good intentions, medical professionals can and do act in a negligent manner which can cause serious injuries or even death.  When an error or negligence occurs inside the emergency room, the victim can recover financial compensation by filing a lawsuit.  Here are the most common emergency room errors:

  • Failure to correctly read medical information
  • Failure to find cardiac issues that can lead to heart attack
  • Committing major errors in surgery such as leaving equipment inside of the patient
  • Misdiagnosis of the medical issue or delayed diagnosis of the medical issue
  • Prescription medication errors such as giving the wrong medicine
  • Failure to properly monitor a patient after the procedure

Hospital Malpractice

Hospital MalpracticeIt is also possible to sue the hospital for compensation where a patient was injured because of negligence.  The most critical aspect of running a hospital is hiring quality medical professionals.  They are responsible for hiring qualified and ethical medical professionals to work on their staff.  If they fail to do the proper evaluation of potential employees, the hospital can be held liable for any injuries a patient has experienced as a result of their negligence.  As an example, let’s say that the hospital didn’t double check the doctor’s certification before hiring him on the medical staff.  If this doctor then causes an injury, the hospital is found to be liable.

In addition to being responsible for hiring competent and qualified medical professionals, hospital staff and employees are also held to a certain standard level of care.  Some examples include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Not giving the patient proper treatment
  • Ignoring the patient and the medical condition worsens
  • Failure to notice the need of a medical specialist
  • Failure to perform the correct tests
  • Giving wrong medication or wrong amount of medication to patient
  • Misuse of medical devices
  • Not following safety protocol of the hospital

Medical Device Error

With the recent advances in medical technology, this type of medical malpractice is steadily increasing.  These devices are used regularly and for the most part are very reliable, but they do still fail or are misused by medical professionals.  When the failure of the device or the misuse of the device results in injury, the manufacturer or doctor can be held liable.  The 3 major categories of medical defects include insufficient warnings, defects in the design of the device, and manufacturing defects.  Defects that result in injury or death make the manufacture of the product liable.

Medical professionals that misuse a device can be held liable for the injuries that they cause.  Improper use can be anything that makes it more dangerous including improper training on how to use the device, insufficient knowledge, carelessness, or general negligence.

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Failing to diagnose a medical issue properly can have debilitating effects on patients and their loved ones.  The effects from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can be permanent and life lasting.  In some cases it can even result in death.  The most common medical conditions that are misdiagnosed include lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, infections, and vascular diseases.  In order to file a successful lawsuit for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you need to prove that medical professional acted negligently.  This is usually very difficult to prove in a court of law.  Some common examples include:

Not listening to the patient – It is the responsibility and duty of the doctor to listen the patient and examine the symptoms they complain of.  If a doctor does not look at a symptom and a patient’s condition worsens, the doctor can be held liable.

Inability to recognize symptoms – Doctors go through years of education and training to create treatments based on the symptoms of the patient.  Failing to diagnose an illness even though the symptoms indicate a problem can make the doctor liable for malpractice.

Failure to analyze medical history – Is the responsibility of the doctor to closely examine the medical histories of the patient and their family.  A medical professional can be considered negligent if they failed to examine the medical history of the patient and consequently causes the patient’s condition to worsen.  If they would have simply looked at the relevant medical history, they would taken a different approach.

Failure to perform proper tests – Performing the proper medical tests is crucial to receiving quality healthcare.  If a doctor orders the wrong test for their patient based the present symptoms, they can be considered negligent.  If the failure to use the proper test results in further injury, the patient may be awarded compensation.

Failure to interpret medical tests correctly – Reading a test improperly can cause numerous problems and doctors are responsible for CORRECTLY interpreting this data.  If they are reckless when interpreting test and this causes injury or illness, they can be held liable for their negligence.

You rely on your doctor to give you the right diagnosis.  When patients are given a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, their conditions are getting worse without the proper treatment.  In addition, the wrong treatment leaves you susceptible to risky treatments that might cause pain or allow your original condition to worsen.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a limit of time under which the injured victim can file a lawsuit against the negligent party.  The state of Michigan has a specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.  A two-year statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice in Michigan.  If you fail to file a clain within the first 2 years of the malpractice, you will NOT be able to receive compensation for your injuries.  There are a few exceptions after the 2 year statute for people that are disabled, minors, and patients who later discover or should have discovered the claim.  Because the window of opportunity is so narrow in Michigan, it’s imperative to contact an attorney immediately following a medical mistake.

Get The Compensation You Deserve!

We have the legal experts, medical staff, and experts to stand behind your claim. Let us review your case and apply our expertise on your behalf. Give us a call today at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation!

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