Like any profession or job doctors and other medical professionals can make errors of judgement or neglect to carry out their duties to the required standard. Usually this is not the case and the vast majority of medical practitioners do excellent work every day in our hospitals and clinics. When they do occur, however, incidents of hospital negligence and medical errors are often due to the pressure (and fatigue) of working long hours in what is undoubtedly a stressful environment.


Incidentally, under South African common law, there is the crime of "Crimen injuria", 'defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another."[1] Although difficult to precisely define, the crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road rage,[2] stalking,[1] racially offensive language,[3] emotional or psychological abuse[4] and sexual offences against children.[5' (from Wikipedia).

All medical doctors owe their patients a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. This means that they must act as a “reasonable doctor,” who works in the same geographical area as the defendant doctor, would act under the same or similar circumstances. Doctors who are specialists are usually held to a nationalized standard of care when it comes to medical negligence cases.

The first step is a letter of demand, a letter sent by your lawyer to the doctor or health facility concerned, setting out your claim and the period in which the accused should meet it. Thereafter, getting a case to court can take up to four years. Accurate case data and hospital notes have to be gathered; records relating to the patient’s prior medical history, treatment at the hands of the suspected transgressor, and any subsequent treatment must be obtained. Then, lay witnesses must be found, expert witnesses briefed and court dates agreed on. In addition, both the patient’s medical condition and prevailing medical treatments have to be researched.
Many people don’t bring a meritorious lawsuit against their doctor because of fear concerning family and friends. Only you can decide for yourself whether bringing a lawsuit against your physician is the right thing for you to do. Only you know the pain and suffering that you have endured – nobody else. Only you know the extent of your lost wages, medical bills, and injury.
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There are no guidelines for determining the value of a malpractice victim’s pain and suffering. A jury cannot look at a chart to figure out how much to award for pain and suffering. In most states, judges simply instruct juries to use their good sense, background, and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable figure to compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Because juries are given so little guidance about how to calculate damages for pain and suffering, awards of pain and suffering damages can vary widely among plaintiffs with similar injuries.
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.
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.
Here, this issue is going to be whether, in reviewing the tests, it was within the applicable standard of care to diagnose you as having a UTI. Secondly, if you have now been correctly diagnosed as having bladder cancer, is your proposed treatment protocol any different than what would have been done if this had been caught during the first couple of visits. You then must assess what additional treatment costs you have incurred, or will incur as a result of the delay. None of this can be done without a detailed assessment of your medical records, by a competent med. mal. attorney and the proper experts.
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All articles and content provided in this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Neither the state bar of Nevada nor any agency of the State Bar has certified any lawyer identified here as a specialist or as an expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability. Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 198 (2002).
The patient must also prove that the doctor's negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the patient's injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have -- had the correct diagnose been made in a timely manner -- and that this progression had a negative impact upon treatment. For example, because of a delayed cancer diagnosis the patient had to undergo a more severe treatment regimen (such as chemotherapy) or the patient died because the cancer had metastasized and no longer responded to treatment. Sometimes a patient can show harm even if the condition can still be treated. For example, with some cancers a delay in treatment increases the risk of recurrence.
The above settlement calculator should be used for more minor injuries. If you suffered a catastrophic brain injury, wrongful death, or another serious injury, or were permanently disabled, then you should not use this injury settlement calculator. Instead, you should seek counsel with a personal injury lawyer to accurately determine the value of your case and calculate the correct insurance settlement.
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.
* Legal aid. Legal Aid SA, a state agency that provides legal advice to those who cannot afford it, takes on medical malpractice cases selectively, depending on merit. “Our mandate permits us to fund litigation of medical malpractice and we have certainly done so in the past,” Legal Aid spokesman Mpho Phasha says. “We favour those cases where there is greatest impact, those that affect communities or where a legal principle is at stake.”
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.
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For medical malpractice cases, attorneys who represent the plaintiff (the patient who has been injured by medical negligence) usually do so on a "contingency" basis, which means the attorney’s payment comes as a set percentage of what the plaintiff ends up receiving after a settlement or a successful jury trial. If the plaintiff receives no payment or ends up losing at trial, the attorney is not paid. But before you sign a contingency agreement, check to see if you will be on the hook for things like filing fees and other costs.
Expert testimony is required. Expert opinions are often a crucial feature of the patient's case. A qualified expert is usually required at trial. (And often, expert testimony or an expert affidavit is required at the malpractice review panel proceedings prior to commencing trial.) State rules vary as to what makes somebody qualified to provide expert medical testimony, but generally it is someone with experience in the particular field at issue. In a very limited number of circumstances, expert testimony is not required, such as when a surgical towel is left inside the patient after a surgery.
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