Establish that Medical Negligence Occurred – Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider violates the medical standard of care, or the professionally-accepted method for diagnosing or treating a specific condition. The standard of care may vary depending on factors individual to each patient, such as age, geographic location, overall health, and the specific condition.
Another reason that misdiagnosis happens is a faulty lab result or test. Errors in test results can happen because of flawed equipment or human error. In some cases, a technician who administers the test inappropriately, or a secondary doctor who misreads a scan, resulting in a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis, can be held liable. If the hospital staff makes a mistake, the hospital can be held directly liable.

Medical malpractice is the most common legal claim lodges against doctors. A medical malpractice claim arises when a doctor failed to treat the patient in conformance with the accepted medical standard of care and the patient suffered some injury as a result. The medical standard of care is the type of care that another physician in a similar community practicing in the same type of medicine would have provided within the same circumstances.


We offer a completely free, no obligation Medical Negligence Claim Assessment. We understand that suing your GP may not be an easy decision so we are here to help and advise you. We will take the time to listen to your complaint, and then explain whether you can sue a doctor, how long it might take, how you can fund the claim and how much compensation you might receive.

Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

A recent example of a plaintiff receiving compensation for emotional damage happened in Virginia. A patient going in for a colonoscopy chose to use his cellphone to record his examination so that he could capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure. When he went home and listened to the recording, he found that as soon as he was under anesthesia, his entire surgical team began cruelly mocked and insulted him. The man sued for medical malpractice and defamation and after a 3 day trial was awarded $500,000 in damages.

No one is infallible however, where a person has a life his/her hands it is expected that they will do all that is require according to the standards expected to have little or no errors. It is on that basis that a person can sue for misdiagnosis because the medical practitioner showed some level of incompetence which is unacceptable. A person can sue the doctor and the hospital if the doctor is an employee of the hospital.

A patient trying to prove misdiagnosis must show that a doctor in the same or similar specialty would not have misdiagnosed the illness or injury. The plaintiff will have to show that the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on the list and that a competent doctor would have included it. Alternatively, the plaintiff must show that the doctor listed the correct diagnosis but did not perform the right tests to arrive at the correct diagnosis by the end of the differential diagnosis method.


3. Expect that the case will be quick and cheap. Although experienced lawyers will take on viable cases on a “contingency basis”, you will likely be expected to front the costs of initial medical opinion(s) and record gathering. Be prepared for no less than $5,000 and as much as $15,000 to get started. If the investigation is favourable, most lawyers will pay the freight from this point to the end of the case.

In order to prosecute an action for a tort to recover damages one must prove (1) an injury (in the generic sense, physical, mental or loss of property) (2) the actor who injured you owed you a duty not to injure you and (3) you have damages as a result of the injury.  In the medical malpractice area (which is the tort for which you can sue a doctor), you must also prove that the care provided fell below the standard of care in your locality.
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.
Medical malpractice claims don't only cover errors in diagnosis and treatment. Once you've established a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor owes you a duty of care and treatment with the degree of skill, care, and diligence as possessed by, or expected of, a reasonably competent physician under the same or similar circumstances. Part of that duty of care is to be forthcoming with your diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis, as reasonably competent physicians would not lie to their patients.
Chris Archer, the chief executive of South African Private Practitioners Forum, says it is fashionable for health practitioners to blame lawyers for the increase in malpractice cases, but the working conditions of many health professionals also play a role. “Many health professionals work in solo practices or small partnerships without professional support or routine peer review. There is limited use of protocols and guidelines and little to no teamwork among private practitioners,” he says.
These things are the different “elements” of pain and suffering damages. It is basically financial compensation for having to “go through” certain things that you otherwise would not have had to if it wasn’t for the accident/injury. In minor incidents, it is compensation for the inconvenience; in major cases, it is compensation for the agony and suffering. For example, your medical bills may be covered, but that doesn’t compensate you for the pain of never being able to pick up your grandchild again. It makes perfect sense if you think about it in that way.
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.

Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]
While most people may immediately think of a formal lawsuit when they consider seeking compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence, the fact is that in some situations, avoiding the expense and potential uncertainty of a formal lawsuit may result in a more favorable outcome. Others simply want to avoid "suing their doctor", but want to get compensation for their injuries. Read on to learn more about the options for resolving your medical malpractice case outside of the traditional court setting.
Loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on the injured party’s ability to provide love, affection, companionship, or services. People often think that loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on a married couple’s sexual relationship. But it’s broader than that. Many states now allow children and parents, in addition to spouses, to bring loss of consortium claims. Note that the person who would sue for loss of consortium is the spouse, parent or child of the person who was injured.
Misdiagnosis in a hospital emergency room can be caused by the pressure and reduced time available to look into various differential diagnoses. Unusual illnesses or illnesses that are distinctive to a particular population are more likely to be missed. For example, a homeless person who comes to the emergency room asking for pain medication may be taken less seriously than an ordinary person who comes in wearing clean clothes and complaining of stomach pains. This may result in a missed diagnosis of appendicitis regarding the homeless person.
Often, with major cases, focus groups are used to determine these kinds of situations. In a personal injury case focus group, a group of people volunteer to hear the facts of the case and then answer questions pertaining to the case so that the attorneys can get an idea of what the general public (and hopefully the future jury) is thinking. Knowing that a focus group of 20 people all thought the victim should be paid at least $50,000 can help a lot in determining a starting point.
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.
Such awards may follow in house insurance guidelines with some leeway granted to adjusters to adjust the claim in order to prevent the claim from being fully litigated in court. There is a wide range of levels of compensation which may fluctuate seasonally and with the economy and dictates of the insurance industry setting the varying levels of compensation to claimants. Some insurers have experimented with using computers which tabulate the data that is presented and grant the adjuster a level of money authority for which to settle the claim.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney or if you do not have an attorney, consult with an attorney.

Every doctor and nurse has a legal duty to provide a good standard of care. If you feel they have fallen short, you can report them to their regulatory body. For doctors, this is the General Medical Council (gmc-uk.org), or the Nursing and Midwifery Council (nmc.org.uk) for nurses. These bodies can investigate serious mistakes in clinical care, dishonesty or abuse of position, but can’t make a doctor or nurse apologise to you, impose a fine or help you with a compensation claim.

Battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or has other unwelcome physical contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner. Battery may apply when patients are sexually or physically abused by their doctors. This can also occur when a doctor performs an incorrect surgery or medical treatment on the patient. Likewise, this can occur when a doctor does something to the patient without consent.


Most people know that if a hospital makes a mistake that hurts them, they can sue the doctor or nurse or hospital in state court under state medical malpractice/ negligence laws. What most people, including many lawyers and doctors do not know is that you can also sue hospitals for failure to evaluate and/ or stabilize a medical condition that causes harm to the patient under a federal statute. The statute is commonly referred to as the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA).
All doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have a legal duty to provide proper medical care to patients—and to any other people who need emergency medical care. But doctors do not have to accept everyone as a patient. They can refuse to take a person as a patient for legitimate reasons. For example, a doctor may lack medical knowledge and experience in a particular area. Or a doctor and person may disagree on the right medical treatment for the person. But doctors cannot refuse to take a person as a patient because of age, gender, marital status, medical condition, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
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.
Costs of suing—some lawyers will work for a contingency fee, meaning the fee depends on the result of the case. If you lose, the lawyer gets nothing. If you win, the lawyer gets part of your compensation award. Win or lose, though, you usually have to pay the expenses of suing, which can be thousands of dollars, especially if you have to hire experts to help prove your case. The Law Society regulates contingency fee contracts to ensure they are fair to clients. For more information about lawyers’ fees, check script 438, called “Lawyers’ Fees”.
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.
Although it is not unheard of for a doctor to alter medical records, it is extremely rare. If your doctor does alter your medical records, this fact alone will not irreparably harm your case. There have been major advances in forensic technology over the past years. It is now possible to detect changes in ink, spacing, and handwriting that may have been made by your doctor when he tried to alter your records.
I was recently abruptly terminated by my employer of 17 years. I worked for a relatively small (25-30 employees), family-owned, manufacturing company in a niche market, in the position of general manager for the past 10, and was responsible for distributor relations, trade shows, etc for the entire 17. Without any warning, I was terminated via text message in December. I didn't have the opportunity to speak with any of the customers that I had formed relationships with over the years, to clear out my office of 17 years of accumulated personal belongings, or to even speak with anyone regarding my termination. I was sent a letter from an attorney representing the company instructing me that I was not to attempt to contact the company directly. My belongings were (literally!) thrown into a couple of boxes (picture frames and momentos were broken), and shipped to my home - I live 2 miles from the company. A friend - still employed there, noticed some of my personal things; including a 5x7 school photo of my family, in the trash, and retrieved it and other items to return to me, but had to leave the soiled items in the trash. I have no record of disciplinary problems nor any reason to have anticipated any of this. I feel stripped of my dignity, my reputation, my friends. I went from making $75,000 yr to less than $400 wk on unemployment. Since my termination I understand that the a family member of the owner has taken over many of the responsibilities that had been mine, leading me to believe that this was likely the motive, and while I understand family ties and obligations, and realize that no labor laws have been broken, it was done maliciously, knowing the devastation it would cause to me.
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.
As to whether or not the plaintiff’s injury is a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct, North Carolina courts ask whether a “reasonably” cautious person might have foreseen that severe emotional distress would result to the plaintiff. What qualifies as “reasonable” and “negligent” depends on the situation; for example, medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care when treating patients.

There are two general types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering has to do with a medical malpractice victim’s actual physical injuries, i.e., his/her bodily injuries. It also includes conditions like scarring, disfigurement, and permanency of the malpractice victim’s injuries.

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.[3] Instead, the conduct must be so heinous and beyond the standards of civilized decency that it is utterly intolerable in a civilized society.[4] The legal classic formulation of the standard is whether the conduct would cause a reasonable person to explain, “Outrageous!”[5]


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.
Medical malpractice insurance carriers generally require very large deductibles from their insured doctors. Furthermore, most states have laws that require doctors to report any claims of medical malpractice to a state-run board, which can result in higher insurance rates. Doctors may be willing to settle for an amount at or around the amount of their deductible, as it will abrogate the need for them to report the case. They are simply choosing to pay you the amount of the deductible instead of paying the insurance company. Seek counsel before accepting this type of settlement, as you need to be sure your future medical needs will be provided for.
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.

Expert witnesses, copies of medical records, deposition and witness fees, medical exams -- all of these things cost money. And if you lose your case, you could very well be on the hook for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in expenses - depending on your legal fee agreement. Is your case important enough to you that you feel the potential financial benefit outweighs the risk?
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