The motto of all healthcare professional is "do no harm", but despite this, medical errors still occur. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, there are up to 19,000 medical malpractice claims in the United States every year. Malpractice can come in many different forms, from surgical mistakes to misdiagnoses, even for improper medication prescriptions. Over $38 billion in damages was paid out to malpractice victims between 1986 and 2010 and all doctors are taught to prepare for at least one malpractice suit in their lifetime.
Despite nearly 200,000 deaths per year in the United States (making it the third largest killer), only 20% of medical malpractice suits result in compensation for the victim. For a medical malpractice suit to materialize, a few factors must exist:
-A medical professional failed to provide an adequate level of care or didn't adhere to the standards of a doctor or surgeon (note: this includes dentists as well). Medical providers are sworn by their professional duty to patients. Any time a patient schedules an appointment with a doctor, they enter this professional relationship.
-The patient must have sustained an injury caused by the negligence of the medical professional. If you think a doctor did something negligent but you weren't harmed by it, you won't have much of a case.
-The injury had serious consequences, such as pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income. If you receive plastic surgery and simply aren't happy with the results, you again will not have much of a case.
Some examples of medical malpractice include an improper diagnosis, unneeded surgery, failure to order the correct testing procedures, inability to recognize symptoms, or not taking the patient's history into account.
Note that the important thing here is negligence - medical professionals owe a duty to their patients and violating that duty could result in malpractice. In California, you have 30 days to report the injury after it occurs, or two years following the medical procedure.
Preparing Your Case
Medical records are critical in medical malpractice cases. You and your attorney will need to prove the medical professional acted negligently in causing your injury. Detailed medical records are key in determining the compensation you're entitled to.
In California, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000. Non-economic damages (or general damages) refer to things like anxiety, depression, and loss of life enjoyment that are hard to determine monetarily. There's no cap on the amount you are able to recoup for medical procedures, tests, and doctors visits made in attempt to heal the malpractice injury. There's also no cap on the amount of damages for lost wages a victim can receive.
Doctors and hospital are supposed to be healers and caregivers, but medical professionals are human beings who are just as susceptible to mistakes as the rest of us. However, these mistakes can lead to personal injury or even wrongful death. If you or a family member have been injured or killed due to medical negligence, contact Rush Injury Law today and find out what your options are.