We trust doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals to take care of us when we are at our most vulnerable. They have trained and prepared for years to be able to provide reasonable and safe medical care for their patients, and they are expected to do so every time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
In some instances, patients come away from their medical experience with more pain or injuries than when they started. These cases are referred to as medical malpractice. If you have suffered any significant loss, physical or economic, as the result of subpar medical care, you may be eligible for compensation. An experienced medical malpractice attorney, like the team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates, can help guide you through a medical malpractice claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
The issue of medical malpractice has been a part of various societies for centuries. In the United States, it has been a fairly common legal process since the 1970s. Rather than being regulated by the federal government, however, medical malpractice laws in the United States are determined by each state, though they each mostly follow the same general structure.
Medical malpractice refers to any incident when the actions, or lack of action, on the part of a medical professional leads to injury or loss for a patient. Many different types of medical malpractice are recognized. Several of the most common categories of medical malpractice are failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, not warning patients about the risks involved with a specific procedure, and improper treatment. Essentially, anything done by a medical professional that directly leads to injury or loss for a patient could be medical malpractice, though that can be difficult to prove to the courts.
While each medical malpractice case will be unique, they all follow the same general steps. The patient who experienced the loss, or a representative on their behalf, is responsible for providing clear evidence of medical malpractice. There are typically four things that must be proven in a successful medical malpractice case:
- Establish that there was a doctor/patient relationship. This initial step is often fairly easy to prove. If there was an established relationship between a patient and a medical provider, then that provider had a duty to provide adequate care.
- Provide proof that the medical provider did not meet the standard of care. This can be one of the more difficult steps to prove. After the standard of care is established, there has to be clear evidence that the doctor did not meet that standard. This can be shown through expert testimony demonstrating that most medical professionals in a similar position would have made a different choice.
- Make a claim that the medical negligence was directly connected with the patient’s suffering. As with the previous step, this one can also be difficult. If you were sick prior to your experience with medical negligence, it can be difficult to prove that the lack of care is what caused your injury or loss. To prove this claim, you must clearly establish that no other medical conditions contributed to the injury.
- Provide tangible proof of the patient’s losses. These losses are often referred to as damages. This could include lost wages, the cost of additional medical treatment, and compensation for any mental or emotional strain. The evidence of damages that you, as the patient, suffered will play a major role in determining what the final settlement will be.
If you can provide clear, quantifiable evidence for each of these elements, you are more likely to have a successful claim.
Carlsbad Medical Malpractice FAQS:
Q: How Do I Prepare for a Personal Injury Medical Malpractice Case?
A: Preparing for a medical malpractice case can be a daunting process. You will need to make sure that all of your documentation, evidence, and paperwork are correct before moving forward.Before the start of any trial, you will share any information you have,including communications, medical records, testimonies, and any other necessary documentation, with the other party’s legal representation and receive information from them as well. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is the best way to ensure you are well prepared.
Q: How Much Do Top Medical Malpractice Lawyers Charge?
A: Most lawyers, when working with legal cases that involve medical malpractice in California, accept cases based on a contingency fee agreement. This means that the compensation your lawyer receives is directly correlated with how much you win in the settlement. California caps these fees. For medical malpractice cases, lawyers cannot charge more than 40% of the first $50,000, about 33% for the next $50,000, 25% of the next $500,000, and 15% of anything over $600,000.
Q: What Is the Average Settlement fora Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in California?
A: It can be nearly impossible to pinpoint a specific amount that you may receive in a medical malpractice settlement. Many factors go into the final decision, such as the severity of injuries and the outcome of a jury trial if necessary. In California, you cannot be rewarded more than $250,000 for non-economic damages, such as depression or anxiety. There is no cap on compensation for economic damages, however, with averages ranging from $150,000 to several million dollars.
Q: Which Element of Malpractice Is Hardest to Prove?
A: Every aspect of a medical malpractice case presents its own difficulties. Each element is difficult because you, as the injured party, are responsible for providing clear evidence to support your case. While each step can be challenging in its own way, proving that the doctor was negligent and that their negligence directly contributed to your injury will likely be the most difficult element to prove. These steps are most difficult because it can be challenging to find tangible evidence of negligence or harm beyond your own experience and feelings.
If you believe you have been negatively impacted by medical malpractice, working with an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney can provide you with peace of mind and confidence as you navigate your claim. Contact Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates to discuss your case and receive personalized support for all your medical malpractice concerns.