Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Injury Compensation Claim Settlements
If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician in a surgery, hospital or clinic and would like to speak to a specialist medical malpractice lawyer without further obligation, just make contact with our law office. A medical malpractice lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims involving clinical negligence will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical malpractice. Our lawyers operate using a contingency scheme and you will not have to fund or finance your compensation claim in any respect. If our medical malpractice lawyers are not successful you pay nothing at all. You have nothing to lose in taking up our lawyers offer of free advice and there is no further obligation should you decide not to pursue a claim further. We offer a true professional risk free service and you will only ever deal with a qualified, specialist medical malpractice lawyer. Do yourself justice and contact our offices today.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Overview
Medical malpractice (negligence) can be an act of omission or an act of commission by a healthcare provider. An act of omission means that the provider failed to do something so that the care falls below the accepted standards of care in the medical community where the care was given. An act of commission means the provider did something that fell below medical standards. In order for it to be medical negligence, it must cause an injury or death in the patient because of the medical error.
It is difficult to estimate how many people die as a result of medical malpractice but experts estimate that between 4,000 and 10,000 people die per year in Canada because of medical negligence. There are about 100,000 episodes of medical negligence in Canada per year that are reported and many more that are not reported. These hospital errors cost Canadian hospitals about $25 million dollars per month. Doctors are sued by injured patients or their families about 1,000 times per year in Canada.
Medical malpractice can be a surgical error where the surgeon left a sponge or instrument in the patient at the time of surgery; it can represent a failure to diagnose a crucial disease; it can be a medication error, where the patient received too much or too little medication and this error resulted in injury or death. A surgeon can operate on the wrong extremity or cut an artery, causing the patient to bleed uncontrollably, leading to injury or death.
When it comes to medical malpractice, usually the hospital or physician is sued; however, nurses, dentists and therapists can be sued as well. In a negligence case, the patient or patient’s representative is the plaintiff and the healthcare provider or hospital is the defendant. The defendant is the person who ordered the treatment and not necessarily the person who followed the orders of the defendant unless the person who followed orders knew better than to follow that order.
In a medical malpractice case, there are several elements that must be supported by the case. For example:
- A legal duty must be owed to the patient. This duty happens when a healthcare provider begins a treatment of care to the patient and ends when the patient is effectively treated and discharged.
- The legal duty must have been breached. This means that the healthcare provider failed to provide care up to the legal standard of care in the community.
- The breach of care resulted in an injury to the patient.
- There was deviation from the normal and acceptable standards of care as it applies to the healthcare provider’s specialty and the area where the care took place.
- Damage must have taken place. The damage can be to the body or to the mental state of the patient after the medical mistake. The damage must be a direct result of the medical negligence.
In medical malpractice cases, sometimes the plaintiff (patient) asks for an amount of money and this amount or a lesser amount is accepted and given to the plaintiff by the healthcare provider’s insurance company. Other times, the case goes to a trial.
In a trial, there is evidence provided on both sides—the plaintiff’s side and the defendant’s side. A particular type of testimony is provided on both sides and that is expert testimony. Experts must be decided as such by the court (the judge) and is based on the expert’s medical qualifications and the previous standards set in previous court cases. The court must decide if the witness is qualified as an expert witness. Often there are expert witnesses on both sides and the judge or jury must decide which expert testimony was the most accurate. Expert testimony and other pieces of information provided by the witnesses and documentation can help the judge or jury make a decision on the case. If the case is decided in favor of the plaintiff, usually they are awarded money for the damages they received.
Damages in a medical malpractice case can be both compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages can be economic or non-economic. The economic damages include things like lost wages or lost future wages as a result of the injury. They also include the cost of medical expenses at the time of the accident or injury and in the future. Usually life care expenses are included as part of economic damages.
Non-economic damages depend on the injury and include a monetary estimate of the physiological and psychological loss of vision or hearing, loss of a limb, loss of an organ or the actual injury. There can be psychological harm due to the loss of a loved one in as a result of medical negligence. Severe pain and emotional problems following the injury can be determined and included as part of the non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are not often awarded. They are awarded when the actions of the healthcare provider are considered reckless or wanton. If it was felt that the doctor acted in a malicious way then punitive damages are awarded. Damages can also be awarded to the family of a patient who has committed suicide. In such cases, the jury must decide if the psychiatrist failed to recognize an impending suicide or if suicide was discussed with the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist failed to take the suicidality seriously.
Medical malpractice cases have only a limited time in which they can be filed. Each jurisdiction sets its own statute of limitations. It also depends on the type of medical negligence involved. The statute of limitations varies. Minor patients tend to have longer statutes of limitations.
Most physicians practice in low risk practices and do not get sued. A quarter of physicians work in high risk categories and almost all these physicians get sued at some point in their careers. High risk categories include orthopedic surgery, general surgery and maxillofacial surgery. Neurosurgeons are considered high risk as well.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7142