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Can You Sue A Doctor For Negligence | How Medical Errors Affect Patients

Damages in a personal injury case, whether they be economic or non-economic, are generally limited to the coverage limits of the insurance policy. Often, this means that a person cannot sue an insurance company for a million dollars if the insurance coverage the defendant held only had a limit of $50,000. The most concrete way to think about this example is in the automobile insurance industry.
Unfortunately, just because one of these things occurs does not mean you have a claim. Medicine is not an exact science, and the law does not obligate doctors to be error-free 100 percent of the time. If doctor error occurs but there is no breach of a standard of care, you may not have a strong claim. If however, doctor error occurs and there is a breach of a standard of care, then malpractice may have occurred.
If you or a loved one have suffered from the negligent infliction of emotional distress, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys about the merits of your case. Personal injury claims must be made within certain time periods of the injury or you lose the right to bring your claim, so time is of the essence in this area of law.

First, of all, I do not relish the fact that Dr. Sampley is being sued. He is a nice person; he was the treating psychiatrist when my daughter was admitted to the hospital cited in this article. My daughter was hospitalized on that occasion because she was unable to care for herself. She was unable to feed herself, go to the bathroom, communicate, etc. She was so catatonic and unresponsive to the environment, that her eyes were ‘glued’ in an open position. It was like being in a coma. You could move her arm in an outstretched position and her arm would stay that way indefinitely until it lost blood circulation. You could stick a needle through her leg and she wouldn’t respond. People in this MIA community who argue that ‘mental illness’ does not exist should reconsider how these kind of comments affect family members whose loved ones truly cannot care for themselves. The argument shouldn’t be whether ‘mental illness’ exists but how do individuals fall into conditions in which they are unable to take care of themselves and what is the role of iatrogenic harm and trauma in their mental and emotional condition. In my daughter’s state, both played a major role but I will keep this post as relevant as possible to Dr. Sampley and how his character/belief system is relevant to our movement.

A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing -- this means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For example, you can't sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a cocktail party. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Questions of whether or not the relationship exists most frequently arise where a consulting physician did not treat you directly.
For example, insurance companies will most likely consider injuries treated by a doctor or specialist to be more serious than injuries treated by a chiropractor. Insurance companies will also do their own reasoning to negate some of the most concrete concepts, like the length of treatment. If they think you didn’t need to your doctor for that last appointment, they will not include that time in the pain and suffering calculation.
You may have read about a “multiplier” in personal injury or medical malpractice cases. Using a “multiplier” means that insurance companies calculate pain and suffering as being worth some multiple of your economic damages (medical bills and lost earnings). However, the “multiplier” concept should only be viewed as an very rough estimate at best. Juries do not use multipliers when they are in the jury room trying to determine your damages, and there are many other factors that affect the outcome of a case. Some of the factors that can greatly impact the value of a plaintiff’s pain and suffering damages are the following:
At the same time, the doctor or the doctor’s insurer must complete a similar investigation in order to determine whether medical negligence actually occurred, and if so, whether the negligence resulted in certain injuries and damages to the claimant. The doctor must also obtain an opinion in writing from another doctor in order to support his or her defense.
While such an idea once sounded like pure science fiction, it would present enormous opportunities in business, leisure, and medicine. Imagine, someone with a rare disease or medical condition could quickly travel anywhere in the world to obtain the best treatment option. In fact, this is already occurring, as people travel to numerous places for both medical and dental treatment. But, as we all know, sometimes medical treatment goes wrong, and this raises an interesting question. Can you sue doctors in other countries for medical malpractice?
I think this is absolutely the right decision. As $15 million sounds like a lot of money, because it really is, this patient and her family are completely changed now. Her life might end because of the doctor’s negligence. There is no price for human life; no amount of money can possibility bring a life back. That is why the large award is to pay for all of her treatment, medical bills, and anything else that can help to rectify the mistakes by her doctor. This also serves as a deterrent to her doctor and radiologist and others as well to make sure they properly do their job and, when in doubt, as for a second opinion.
The most common kind of damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits are compensatory. This is money paid for actual injury or loss. This includes medical and hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, physical therapy, ambulance expenses, prescription drugs, nursing home care, domestic services,medical equipment, lost employment income, increased living expenses, and loss of future income. The latter is much more difficult to assess. If the doctor injured Bill Gates, the doctor will pay much more in compensation for lost earnings than if the injury was to someone who is poor or retired.
From that point, a number of deadlines are triggered. You will need to stay on top of these deadlines or your case may be dismissed. You will need to use the discovery process to investigate your case and obtain evidence to support your claims. And, eventually, you will need to prepare your case for trial. If the pretrial procedures seemed difficult, trial is an even more complicated mix of rules and procedures that all apply at once. Preparation is key, and knowing how to navigate these rules will be the difference between success and failure.
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.

This is probably the number one reason why you don’t want to sue your doctor. While it is true that most lawsuits can take some time to become resolved, it is well worth the wait. However, there are ways to speed up the process: file your lawsuit as soon as it is determined that the case has merit and make sure that the court imposes deadlines for every step of the lawsuit, such as specific dates for depositions, defense medical examinations, and the exchange of discovery responses. This will prevent the lawsuit from the inevitable delays presented by defense attorneys and their insurers and keep the case on the proverbial “fast track” to trial.
Alternatively, the amount of pain and suffering a person experiences can be valued based on the amount, frequency, and duration, of medical care, treatment, or medication, the person needs to recover and get by. Additionally, permanent injuries, including disfigurements, or severe injuries that upend a person’s life, will often correspond to higher awards for pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a doctor or medical professional, then you must take some initial steps to ensure you can get results. No one wants this to happen to them, but if it does, it is also important something happens to ensure that it will not happen to someone else later on. It is also important you or your loved one receives compensation for your injury. If you feel you have been injured by a doctor, then contact Wolf & Pravato to schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights.
The manner in which medical malpractice is addressed in countries around the world varies widely. For example, many countries do not permit jury trials. In these locations, judges or administrators may make the final decision. Moreover, malpractice awards, even when they are given, are often much lower than amounts received in the United States, giving rise to the argument that injured patients may not be fully compensated for their losses in overseas jurisdictions. Plus, there are logistical difficulties. A foreign lawsuit necessitates retention of a foreign attorney and physical presence in the foreign country for legal proceedings. Importantly, many foreign countries do not permit attorneys to take cases on a contingency fee basis.
My younger brother died almost 2 years ago. He coded (his heart stopped beating) a couple days after a colostomy procedure. The doctors rushed him into surgery as he was clearly bleeding internally. They didn't find the source of the bleed, but after looking for a while, gave up and closed the surgery anyway. He continued to bleed, which led to two more surgeries, more complications and his eventual death.
The manner in which medical malpractice is addressed in countries around the world varies widely. For example, many countries do not permit jury trials. In these locations, judges or administrators may make the final decision. Moreover, malpractice awards, even when they are given, are often much lower than amounts received in the United States, giving rise to the argument that injured patients may not be fully compensated for their losses in overseas jurisdictions. Plus, there are logistical difficulties. A foreign lawsuit necessitates retention of a foreign attorney and physical presence in the foreign country for legal proceedings. Importantly, many foreign countries do not permit attorneys to take cases on a contingency fee basis.

So, the best thing you can do if you think you have a good case against a hospital is to be a good client. Before you meet with a lawyer, make sure you know as much of the story as possible. How was your life before the medical negligence occurred? How was it after? Do you have any medical records from the hospital where you were harmed? You may not be asked for them at the initial meeting, but keep in mind that the lawyer may need your medical records to determine if there is medical negligence and if so, if suing the hospital would likely result in a trial verdict or settlement.

It is also important for doctors and nurses to communicate with patients and gather pertinent information about their health history and that of their immediate family members. Information on preexisting medical conditions and family history of inherited disorders such as heart disease and diabetes are crucial to properly diagnosing a patient’s symptoms. A patient with flu-like symptoms, severe stomach pain, and dehydration that has a family history of diabetes could be quickly tested for high glucose levels and treated immediately before they suffered organ damage or coma.
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.
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:
In addition to damages that are awarded to the injured patient, the patient’s family may recover compensation for loss of care, companionship, love and affection. If the medical malpractice victim dies, family members may be compensated for their wrongful death. Wrongful death damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income, emotional suffering, and loss of the deceased patient’s companionship and affection.

This is often the most difficult part of medical negligence cases and even lawyers have trouble getting their heads around it sometimes.  You may be able to prove that a doctor did the wrong thing, but you also have to prove that what happened next was the result of that wrong thing and you have to prove that it would not have happened if the wrong thing had not been done.  Deciding whether or not this is the case involves both factual and legal issues and is sometimes very hard to do.  You really need a lawyer who is highly experienced in medical negligence cases to look at this for you.
Deon Irish, an advocate who specialises in medical malpractice and a guest speaker at the annual Hospital Association of South Africa Conference in September 2015, said factors that contributed to higher awards included the longer lifespans of patients, improved technology and a broader range of allied health professional skills designed to improve the quality of life of impaired patients.
If the injured patient is able to prove – through qualified expert testimony – that the doctor committed an act of medical negligence, then the patient has satisfied the first step of proving a malpractice claim against the doctor. However, the injured patient must also be able to show that the doctor’s negligence resulted in certain injuries or damages.
In July 2003, Toney delivered a boy with profound deformities, including partial arms and legs. Toney sued Dr. Goyal and Chester County Hospital in 2005 for negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that Dr. Goyal did not prepare her for the shock of witnessing the birth. Toney said she experiences ongoing grief, rage, nightmares, nausea, hysteria and insomnia. The lawsuit did not include a medical negligence claim.
In a malpractice (medical negligence) case, you first must establish that the medical professional(s) acted below the standard of care. That can usually only be established through expert testimony willing to say that the doctor who treated you was negligent by falling below the standard of care. Secondly, you must establish that the negligence was the cause of harm. (This is called "causation.") In other words, if the condition is something that he would have had to deal with anyway, or if the condition is something that you and the medical staff could have reasonably expected, the defense will say that the negligence, if any, didn't cause the future issues. The third point is the issue of damages. If the negligence caused you to incur expenses, those would be your "special damages" and for any loss of income your mom contributed to your household. You are also generally entitled to recover for the loss of "care, comfort and society" of the departed.
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.
This is probably the number one reason why you don’t want to sue your doctor. While it is true that most lawsuits can take some time to become resolved, it is well worth the wait. However, there are ways to speed up the process: file your lawsuit as soon as it is determined that the case has merit and make sure that the court imposes deadlines for every step of the lawsuit, such as specific dates for depositions, defense medical examinations, and the exchange of discovery responses. This will prevent the lawsuit from the inevitable delays presented by defense attorneys and their insurers and keep the case on the proverbial “fast track” to trial.
In Florida, when someone is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence the Florida law provides that the injured party can ask a jury to compensate them for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those damages that are readily calculable—medical bills, lost wages, or anything with a set dollar amount. Economic damages are typically easily presentable to a jury. Jurors understand hard and fast numbers, like medical bills and lost wages, and are oftentimes readily willing to compensate an injury victim for these types of losses.
* Contingency fee model. An alternative to the fee-for-service model, where the injured party takes all the risk, is the contingency fee model. This option, provided for by the Contingency Fees Act of 1997, offers a mechanism for people with insufficient funds to access the courts if they have a good case. Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, lawyers provide their services on a “no win, no fee” basis. If the case is successful, the lawyers are entitled to double their fees to a maximum of 25 percent of the settlement, whichever is lower.
If you don’t file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against your doctor within the prescribed time period, absent some exceptional circumstances you will be barred from seeking monetary compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. A medical malpractice lawyer should know the statute of limitations deadline in your jurisdiction and can work to make sure that a claim or lawsuit is filed in your case in a timely manner.
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