The low point for the Australian medical insurance industry was in 1999 and 2000, with exponential increases in medical insurance premiums and the collapse of the HIH Insurance Group in March 2001. Since then, Australia has introduced a series of reforms, including the capping of compensation awards and dispute-resolution procedures that stipulate mediation or arbitration as the first step.
A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor's diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient's condition can be made much worse, and they may even die. That being said, a mistake in diagnosis by itself is not enough to sustain a medical malpractice lawsuit.
My Dad was an elderly, and he was killed by the misuse of an off-label medication that was contraindicative for his medical conditions. The harm was totally preventable. After Dad’s death, we talked to 20+ attorneys. 99 percent of them said there was malpractice and the doctor was negligent. But because of my Dad’s age and the lack of future earning, no attorney was willing to take my Dad’s case on contingency.
Very severe mental pain and suffering can qualify as acute stress disorder or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may have thought that PTSD only affects soldiers or crime victims, but it can affect medical malpractice victims as well. Some people keep replaying all of the bad things that happened to them over and over in their head, and it can become very debilitating.
The amount of money damages a claimant gets for pain and suffering will also depend upon the amount claimed in a lawsuit if such is filed or the amount demanded to the responsible party in the underlying claim if it is an insurance claim. Even though a lawyer representing a client in an injury negligence-based lawsuit may claim a certain amount for pain and suffering, the jury or the insurance adjuster will award pain and suffering money for differing reasons. In practice, historically tort cases involving personal injury often involve contingent fees, with attorneys being paid a portion of the pain and suffering damages; one commentator says a typical split of pain and suffering is one-third for the lawyer, one-third for the physician, and one-third for the plaintiff.
For example, the standard of care for an eight-year-old child with a cough who is complaining of chest pain would be different than the standard of care for an 80-year-old man who’s complaining of the same symptoms but has smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for most of adulthood. In the case of the child, a reasonable, competent doctor would probably diagnose and treat the child for bronchitis, but that same doctor would run tests to determine whether the elderly smoker had lung cancer.
First, you need to figure out what the legal wrong was that you believe could form the basis for a lawsuit. Once you have figured out what it might be, you will need to research the elements of the case. Just because you feel certain something is wrong and should be addressed by the courts does not mean that it will resolve itself. You have to go through some very specific processes to secure your rights, and failing to do so could jeopardize your claim. These rules and procedures are not secret, and are actually quite easily found, but only if you know what you are looking for, where to look, and that you even need to look in the first place. This is why most people opt to hire an attorney rather than run a case on their own. Attorneys are specially trained and familiar with these procedures, and much less likely to miss something than someone without this experience who is trying to navigate this process for the first time.
The more evidence you have to prove your level of pain and emotional distress, the higher the adjuster’s offer will be. Your ability to persuade him of the severity and duration of your pain and suffering can also play a role. Guided by experience, computer input, evidence, and your persuasive abilities, the adjuster will come up with an amount he feels is justified.
Personal injury, or tort, law, allows a person to recover in civil court for the physical, emotional and/or financial injury caused to them by an outside party. The emotional component of personal injury is most often represented by claims of negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. Although neither of these claims necessarily involves physical injury, NIED and IIED can have devastating and long-term impacts on a person’s life in ways that surpass many physical injuries. The bar for proving sufficient emotional distress is a fairly high one to succeed on a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), and is even higher for intentional infliction (IIED). This article will examine some common causes of action and the elements of negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Non-economic damages cover certain type of injuries that are not out-of-pocket losses, including pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, mental anguish, loss of consortium (companionship) as well as emotional distress. Because these damages are often difficult to calculate and, juries may overcompensate and non-economic damages can exceed actual economic damages. There is no standard formula to calculate these non-economic damages; therefore they vary on a case by case basis and are referred to as subjective damages because they differ according to a plaintiff's personal or subjective experience.
Failure to warn a patient of known risks. Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment -- this is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure (in a way that the doctor should have warned could happen). (To learn more, read Nolo's article Medical Malpractice: Informed Consent.)
Unfortunately, patients who have been injured from a delayed or misdiagnosis have the added burden of proving that medical malpractice has occurred. Consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is crucial to a successful outcome. At Folkman Law Offices, we advocate for patients who have suffered due to a medical mistake and help them collect the compensation they are entitled to under the law.
If your case is accepted, an investigation will be conducted to evaluate medical records, medical protocol, and other pertinent information to determine the factors that may have caused an injury or death. During your initial consultation, you will be informed about how you can assist in the process such as submitting requested documents in a timely manner and attending legal sessions when required.
The doctor acted negligently. The doctor acted negligently if the doctor failed to ask you certain questions, forgot to send the blood test to the proper lab, gave a fake name for your illness and other practices which a similar doctor with the same experience would never have done. To prove this, you will have to show that a reasonable doctor would have recognized your medical problem from your symptoms and diagnosed you appropriately.
Search for disciplinary sanctions. Visit your state’s disciplinary board to see if the attorney has been sanctioned in the past. Attorneys are sanctioned for ethics violations, such as disclosing client confidences or failing to respond to client emails. They are not sanctioned for failing to win cases, unless their performance was so low as to be negligent.
Many medical procedures are inherently risky and even under the most expert care can have bad outcomes. In these cases, doctors are obliged to explain the possible risks of a procedure to you before the procedure, and you must give your informed consent. Doctors need to have efficient and accurate record-keeping processes in order to defend themselves from malpractice litigation. Absent or poor record keeping is classified as professional negligence.
You will want to incorporate as many of these factors into your claim as you can. In addition, you will want to consult a personal injury attorney. Proving these types of cases can be very difficult, and an attorney can help guide you through the process and strengthen your case.schedule a free consultation with a personal injury and accident law firm.
As this article suggests, there is not really a simple answer to whether someone can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis. There are many variables in the world of healthcare, and every situation is unique. With that said, as a patient, you do have certain legal rights when it comes to the care that you receive. Further, you do not have to simply accept that an error occurred without asking questions or learning more about protecting yourself.
Severe or disabling permanent injuries, such as a traumatic loss of vision, brain injury, or debilitating loss of mobility, are usually multiplied by 5 times; however, an automobile accident or serious injury that tragically leaves you in a wheelchair, or with disfiguring scars, or even the death of a loved one, may be multiplied by up to 10 times.
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
There are many reasons that a doctor can be held liable for negligence. Diagnostic tests such as blood work, MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, or x-rays are crucial when there is a possibility of internal injury, head injury, broken bones, organ failure, or illness. Failing to order these tests can result in a doctor diagnosing a sprain instead of a bone fracture, or missing pneumonia in a patient that they diagnose with asthma. Without the benefit of a CT scan, a patient diagnosed with a concussion could actually have a serious head or neck injury that can have permanent repercussions.
How is emotional distress defined in the eyes of the law? In most cases, you can only sue for emotional damages if the incident in question physically harmed you. Emotional distress suits are trickier than other types of lawsuits. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the types of emotional distress claims before you attempt to file a lawsuit.
If you have had emotional distress and sought counseling or treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist, be sure and keep medical bills, prescription receipts, and records detailing your emotional state. It is important to be as genuine and honest as possible, even though it can be difficult to reveal private, personal information, There is no point in exaggerating your problems, as this can diminish your credibility and actually negatively affect your claim worth.
1. When a person comes into a medical facility and asks to be evaluated, the hospital must provide a medical screening examination (MSE) to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor. The hospital may not decide on treatment based on your ability to pay and may not delay treatment to your detriment because they want to prove you can pay, such as pre-authorization from private health insurance. Thus the statute puts your welfare above the pocketbook of the hospital. The statute requires the hospital to use the medical equipment on hand, such as xray, CAT scan, MRI, EMG, EKG equipment as part of the emergency medical screening (EMC) process. So if the hospital just figures you are ok without doing tests, they may be liable under EMTALA. EMTALA applies to any patient coming in to the hospital, not just indigent patients.
Notify the professional's malpractice insurance company of your claim. Although the professional should take this step on his own, you better protect your interests by making such a notification on your own. In most states professionals legally are required to provide a client with the name of their malpractice insurance carrier. If you fail in getting this information directly, the state licensing authority for a particular professional should have a record of her malpractice insurance carrier.
Formal arbitration is a contractual alternative to a lawsuit or trial. In a formal arbitration situation, the parties contractually agree to allow a panel of attorneys (usually one plaintiff-oriented attorney, one defense-oriented attorney and one neutral) to hear their case and adjudicate it on the merits. Liberated from the evidentiary requirements of a formal lawsuit, parties are afforded the opportunity to save a considerable amount of money when compared to trial, while still being allowed to present their case. Formal arbitration is binding and should not be undertaken lightly. Courts are loath to overturn or otherwise alter decisions made by arbitration panels, particularly when the arbitration awards are reasonable in light of potential jury verdicts.
Deliver the demand letter to the professional in question. Either hand carry the demand letter to the professional's office or send it to him via United States mail, return receipt requested. You will need evidence to demonstrate that the demand letter was received by the professional or that you made your best efforts to deliver the letter to him.
Most people are able to get to at least second base with a failure to warn claim. Fewer are able to prove that the doctor simply did not talk to them about that particular risk, although there are cases where a patient’s word has been accepted over a doctor’s insistence that a warning was given. Getting copies of the doctor’s medical notes can help with this element.
Not every mistake or bad result means there was negligence—doctors and healthcare providers are not liable for every mistake. The law realizes that doctors often have to make quick decisions without the best information. The key question is this: did the doctor make a reasonable decision that other reasonable doctors would have made in the same situation—even if later it turns out to be the wrong decision that caused a bad result. For example, you complain to your doctor of severe head pain. They pay attention and examine you. They carefully take your medical history, listen to you describe your symptoms, and order the right tests. Using the results of this examination, they decide that you have an ordinary tension headache that will go away. Later, it turns out that your doctor was wrong, and the pain was not caused by a tension headache. The doctor’s diagnosis was wrong. But your doctor still provided the proper standard of care, the same care that other doctors would have provided in this case. The doctor was not negligent and you probably won’t win if you sue the doctor for malpractice.
Thank you for your response. I guess what it comes down to if I want to see any money out of this is to first spend the money at a doctor (as I mentioned I hate hospitals, and E.R services are the only ones who bill you after the fact.) I just don't understand why one would have to pay a professional to examine something and tell me what I already know, that no bones were broken and I'll just be sore for awhile. The company has video of my being hit by this equipment, a couple employees saw it. I documented the bruising after. Why do I need someone to tell me "you'll be alright, it'll just be sore for awhile," to justify what happened to me that day, did happen, and it was in no fault of my own? The fact that it happened, was witnessed & recorded, & I have photos of the bruising, isn't enough for me to win in small claims court?
The standard of care—this varies with the level of specialty of the doctor—the standard may be higher for specialists. And it varies with time—today’s standard may not be good enough next year. You can’t always expect the best care available at the most sophisticated research hospital. The standard of care may be affected by the level of hospital that treats you.
While the majority of health care providers aim to exercise the highest standard of care for all patents, there are times when things can go gravely wrong. If you or a loved one has experienced poor medical care, misdiagnosis, lack of consent, or breach of doctor-patient confidentiality that has resulted in harm or injury, you may be entitled to medical malpractice recovery.
You must decide how you are going to fund the legal process. Most parties Personal Finance spoke to warned that the legal process is adversarial, long, arduous and emotionally and financially draining. How long it takes depends on the availability of court dates in a creaking, overloaded legal system. At your first appointment, your lawyer will give you a broad indication of the process involved and the likely costs. There are four options:
Dr. Zaheer A. Shah, MD, JD (Attorney and Physician): The author of this answer is an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of Arizona and he is a board certified, Ivy League trained, practicing physician. Nothing posted on this forum by the author constitutes legal advice. Additionally, any medical opinions rendered on this forum in response to a particular question do not constitute medical advice. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and are neither privileged nor confidential. While an effort is made to offer accurate information, there is no guarantee as to accuracy.
It isn’t surprising that you like your doctor. Otherwise, why else would you keep going back to him year after year? But so what? Liking your doctor shouldn’t keep you from suing him if he has caused you emotional and/or physical harm. Think about it – the legal system is around for a reason. It’s there to provide people with a way to receive compensation from someone who has harmed.