Since 1988, the law firm of Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., located in New Haven, has provided aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation to people injured due to medical malpractice cases throughout Connecticut. Our attorneys have more than 150 years' combined experience fighting health care professionals for fair compensation in medical malpractice and medical negligence cases, including cases involving failure to diagnose serious injury.
Plaintiffs can also sue for the negligent infliction of severe emotional distress that they experienced because of someone else’s injury. This types of suit occur sometimes when a person has to witness the injury or death of a loved one caused by another person’s negligence. However, to succeed on such a claim one must be able to prove that their distress was an immediate and foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. In addition, the plaintiff generally must physically witness the accident in order to be able to recover for this type of claim.
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.
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.
In order to take legal action against a medical doctor for malpractice, you cannot just simply file a lawsuit with the court. Rather, you must first send a notice to the doctor, indicating to him or her that you are planning to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. After filing the notice, there may be a waiting period before the injured patient is eligible to file a lawsuit.
In the example above, emotional stress would include the plaintiff’s embarrassment or depression as a result of disfigurement. Likewise, the plaintiff would be compensated if the jury finds that the plaintiff has suffered a permanent loss of function or impairment from the jaw bone injury. The jury would also be permitted to consider the loss of ability of enjoy life’s pleasures such as eating or even kissing. Note that this requires proof of what the plaintiff did and what they enjoyed before the injury. A jury can also consider the expected length of the plaintiff’s life, lifestyle habits, and whether the plaintiff was generally healthy before the incident to determine how much to award.
Properly illustrating your pain and suffering damages at trial for the jury to understand is essential in order to be adequately compensated for your injuries. As stated above, while juries may have a relatively easy time determining the amount of compensation for economic damages because those are numbers can be seen reflected in medical bills and documented lost wages, they often struggle with placing a monetary value on someone’s pain and suffering because these are admittedly abstract concepts.
Damages from pain and suffering are, therefore, subjective. There is no formula and certainly no standardized calculation for pain and suffering. It is the job of the jury (or the judge if there is no jury) to determine what is fair and reasonable, which they will often do based on their own life experiences. The jury will consider whether the plaintiff is credible and sympathetic. This subjectivity means that damages from pain and suffering can vary tremendously from case to case -- even if the underlying injury is the same.
Our son's case was a good example. There were many instances of error, but because he was single we couldn't bring case because there was no “pain or suffering” allowed for parents of adult children over the age of 25. I did call many attorneys and mostly was asked how old he was and if he was married. Then I got a rejection letter. The solution is very simple. Be honest when errors take place, and compensate victims fairly, then peace will come a lot sooner for everyone, including doctors.
Rather, the law only requires medical professionals to act according to the proper standard of care. If you have evidence that your doctor violated this standard when failing to diagnose your condition, then you may have a legitimate malpractice claim. Oftentimes, an expert witness will be called in to determine whether a medical professional did indeed violate his or her standard of care.
Jot your concern down on a bit of paper, and how you want it put right. Be calm. Approach a member of staff, explain your problem briefly and ask to see someone senior. Most doctors and nurses are generally compassionate people and trained in dealing with patients, so they should be willing to listen to your complaint. It’s much more satisfying to receive an explanation from a member of staff who already knows you than a faceless person at the end of a phone.
One example might be a person who survives a car crash in Knoxville in which a loved one dies. If the plaintiff can prove negligence, then any mental or emotional suffering resulting from the accident might be a recoverable damage. Seeing a loved one killed in an accident would traumatize anybody, but not every case of emotional distress will be so clear.
One number represents the most the insurer will pay for one claimant, and the other number represents the maximum the insurer will pay in total, regardless of the number of claimants involved. This second number would come into play if there were injured passengers involved. You probably have seen split limits before, they most often look like: 50/100 or $50,000/$100,000.
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A patient bringing a failure to misdiagnose case must prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor failed to live up to the standard of care in diagnosing the patient's condition, and that the doctor's failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis actually and proximately caused an actual injury. Most often, failure to diagnose cases involve disputes related to the applicable standard of care and whether the doctor's failure to diagnose caused the plaintiff's injury.
In 2015, a Michigan doctor pleaded guilty to purposefully misdiagnosing patients with cancer and treating patients with strong cancer drugs they did not need. He also pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud, receiving kickbacks, and money laundering. The doctor is currently serving a 45-year prison sentence. A misdiagnosis that leads a healthy person to believe he or she is sick is a nightmare. This extreme example does showcase patient vulnerability and the trust they put in attending physicians.
In most cases of medical negligence, you can only file a lawsuit with your doctor. Since most doctors are independent contractors, the hospital or facility is usually not liable. Sometimes other related health care professionals can be sued if they contributed to causing you harm. These professionals include nurses, lab techs or other medical specialists.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may wish to file a formal claim with the offending doctor’s insurance company. Certainly, the doctor may be unwilling to provide you with insurance information, or you may require the assistance of an attorney to make a claim, but in some jurisdictions (particularly those without damage caps) you may find that an insurance company is willing to negotiate a settlement prior to a formal suit being filed. The expense and potential fallout of a formal, public lawsuit is a risk insurance companies are often unwilling to take.
“I was very fortunate to have Richard Jaffe of Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, represent me in my case. Throughout the entire process, Rich was professional, always explaining every detail of my case. He was available whether it was through a phone call, text or email. Not only was Rich an extreme professional but he also kept it personal, not making me feel like a case number. I would highly recommend Richard Jaffe, his firm and all of his staff to anyone seeking diligent and professional results.”
I was an RN and suffered serious and permanent harm from my cancer surgery. There were many errors, including my waking up during surgery, life-threatening infection, internal sutures that did not dissolve, renal failure, a collapsed lung after hospital discharge, abscesses and wound dehiscence. Years later, I am homebound and unable to work. I would be making $80-100,000/year now or more but am stuck barely above poverty on Social Security Disability. Since I and the various insurances have spent over $2 million for my care, and I do not have enough money to obtain all the care and medications I need, I am very unhappy. I have a potential new abscess now. It is a living horror, and the cancer may return. I am always in pain. No attorney would take my case. Even the failure to diagnose the cancer for years, with facts right there for every doctor I went to with my symptoms, isn't actionable. I am however, alive.
People hurt each other’s feelings all the time. As such, courts have held that an IIED claim must be based on more than bad conduct. Liability does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, or petty oppressions. Instead, the conduct must be so heinous and beyond the standards of civilized decency that it is utterly intolerable in a civilized society. The legal classic formulation of the standard is whether the conduct would cause a reasonable person to explain, “Outrageous!”
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.
However, bringing a lawsuit is not for everyone. Weigh your options. If your fear of “looking bad” to family or friends outweighs your desire to bring a malpractice suit against your doctor for an injury he caused you or a loved one, bringing a suit may not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if your need or want to bring suit against your doctor outweighs your fear, taking action against your physician may be the right choice for you.
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.
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.
Once the claimant has satisfied the pre-suit investigation and notice requirements, the claimant may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Florida court system. In order to prevail in a medical negligence case against a doctor, the claimant has the burden of proof. This burden may be difficult to meet, given that there is often a presumption that the doctor acted reasonably and properly under the circumstances.