There's recently been a lot of publicity thrown at medical malpractice cases, both from the medical profession and from the trial lawyers association.
It's worth your time and effort to be educated on all the issues that influence medical malpractice cases.
When you go to the hospital or see your physician, there is an unspoken social bond that your doctor will, at the very least, "do no harm."
Important Malpractice Pages:
Sample NOTIFICATION Letter
Writing a DEMAND Letter
Intro to Negotiating Medical Negligence Claims
More on Negotiating Malpractice Cases
Sample Dialogue Between Attorneys
Visitor Questions & Answers
Ask a Medical Malpractice Question
Medical Malpractice Case Studies
While medical professionals in America are among the best in the world, there are exceptions. Bad things can happen in a doctor's examination room, a hospital ward, or during surgery.
Malpractice insurance is considered one of the major expenses of running a medical practice, and there are several cases of doctors' offices closing because of the high premiums.
This has called for caps on medical malpractice case awards, dating back to the Clinton administration. While malpractice lawsuits are considered by some to be frivolous, in reality they help patients recover damages when something goes horribly wrong.
"Medical Malpractice" - when a health care professional is negligent by providing care which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and causes injury to the patient.
Whether or not an incident is treated as malpractice is a function of the local (usually county, but sometimes state) medical malpractice board, which is made up of physicians.
Medical malpractice cases need to establish what the expected standard of care is for a procedure.
This is a benchmark that relies on both knowledge of the current practice of the procedure in question, and the education of that procedure by the medical malpractice board.
Should the incident in question be determined to be below the expected standard of care for the procedure and facilities, most malpractice boards will award some sort of compensation for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and/or wrongful death.
There are statutes of limitations on how long after the incident a patient can file a malpractice claim. Medical malpractice cases are also time consuming and costly - they require expert witnesses, and the attorney must access all medical records for their clients (this can take months).
Because most medical malpractice cases are taken on contingency, there may be cases where it's difficult or impossible to find representation, even if the case has merits.
Contingency payment is meant to keep attorneys from taking advantage of their clients, but 'winability' is an important consideration in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Plastic Surgery Horror Stories - This case study illustrates what can happen when you don't do your due diligence with a physician. Read about all the liability factors and settlement negotiations in a botched breast implant case.
Ambulance Accidents & Liability - Normally, emergency personel have immunity from liability, but if they don't follow procedures and it results in further harm they can be held liable.
Medical Malpractice Article: Botched Laparoscopic Surgery - A doctor fails to give his patient pre-surgery instructions and does not review her chart adequately, resulting in her vomiting violently during the procedure.
Birth Injury Settlement for Medical Negligence - The doctor was not available when needed due to his own apathy and did not order a cesarean section when it was clearly indicated, resulting in the infant receiving permanent brain damage.
Read the following real life case examples to better understand important medical malpractice concepts:
Medical Malpractice Court Case Seeking Damages for Wrongful Death - In this medical malpractice court case the plaintiff is seeking damages from a nursing home for failing to provide adequate care, causing the victim to break her hip and ultimately die from a staph infection while at the hospital.
Dental Malpractice Claim Filed When a Plaintiff Is Unable to Contact Her Dentist - In this dental malpractice claim the plaintiff alleges the dentist departed from his duty of care to her and went on vacation while she landed in the hospital with an infected mouth.
Brain Injury Lawsuit Filed Against Doctors for Medical Malpractice - In this brain injury lawsuit the plaintiff seeks damages from doctors and the hospital for brain damage during surgery. The hospital in turn files a "cross action" against the manufacturer of a faulty intubation tube which caused the damage.