If you were injured during a medical procedure, surgery, medical evaluation, or treatment by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional, call our firm. You may have the right to seek compensation under a medical malpractice claim. Victims of medical malpractice face astronomical medical bills, the loss of wages due to the inability to return to work, and pain and suffering. You have the legal right to seek compensation regarding your injuries and losses due to a medical professional’s negligence.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
While there are many types of medical malpractice cases, some of the most common types include the following:
- Medication errors
- Failure to accurately or appropriately diagnose or identify medical conditions
- Leaving medical instruments and tools inside of a patient following surgery
- Wrong-site surgeries, removal of incorrect body part, and other surgical errors
- Birth injuries occur immediately prior to, during, or after a child’s birth to either the child or the mother.
- Injuries suffered from dentists, nurses, hospital staff, chiropractors, physical therapists, or other medical professionals.
Building a Strong Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are oftentimes complex and legally challenging to develop. In many cases, an independent investigation is required. In this situation, medical experts are needed to testify on behalf of the victim. The victim must ultimately prove that the injuries they suffered were a direct result of the medical professional’s negligence. In some cases, victims may be unaware of their injuries until a much later time, especially when medical negligence occurred during surgery when victims are still in the process of recovering. Our legal team consists not only of experienced attorneys but medical professionals that are uniquely qualified to build a strong medical malpractice case on your behalf.
Is Medical Malpractice Difficult to Prove?
Medical malpractice claims are unique personal injury claims because they involve medical professionals. Medicine is inherently uncertain due to human physiology, and honest mistakes happen. Medical malpractice laws exist to determine whether a physician’s behavior fell within the scope of an acceptable standard of care for the patient’s condition and whether another similarly skilled physician in the same situation would have done things differently.
Medical malpractice can be challenging to prove. It would not be difficult for a physician to explain away patient harm as an unavoidable yet reasonable and sometimes expected side effect of treatment. The crux of any medical malpractice lawsuit is the standard of care to which the physician should have adhered in light of the patient’s condition. The medical community determines acceptable parameters of care for all known medical ailments, and physicians may only stray from the standard of care in extreme circumstances where solid justification for such action exists.
Success in your medical malpractice claim is determined by your San Diego medical malpractice lawyer’s ability to prove the defendant failed to uphold the appropriate standard of care your situation dictated. The legal process must begin with a formal review process from a medical board. If the review board determines there are acceptable grounds on which to file a medical malpractice claim, the claimant can proceed with their lawsuit.
How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Take?
The timeline for a medical malpractice lawsuit will generally extend considerably longer than the timeline for a typical personal injury case. Medical malpractice lawsuits often require input from medical experts who can testify as to whether a defendant’s actions were justifiable under the given circumstances. The initial review process can also extend the time required to complete a medical malpractice lawsuit.
While medical malpractice lawsuits may run longer than other civil claims, there is one caveat to this that injured patients should remember. When a medical professional has committed any medical malpractice that is egregious, criminal, or beyond the hope of explanation, they will probably seek to settle the matter as quickly and quietly as possible. It is crucial for injured patients in this position to consult with their San Diego medical malpractice attorneys to determine the best approach to settlement negotiations if the opportunity to settle is available.
In virtually every civil case, settlement offers all parties involved an easy and effective method for ending their dispute. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, if there is little to no room for the defendant to argue their mistake was honest and an expected potential outcome of the treatment in question, a settlement could be offered. Swift settlement allows the defendant to move past the situation and the plaintiff to secure their compensation quickly. However, defendants in medical malpractice claims can potentially face professional consequences and even lose their medical licenses for egregious medical negligence.
How Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Work?
A medical malpractice lawsuit begins on the date a plaintiff is harmed by a medical professional or on the date a plaintiff discovers harm done by a medical professional. The next step in a medical malpractice lawsuit is usually obtaining a second opinion (and sometimes, additionally, a third) to confirm that the plaintiff experienced harm due to medical negligence. An injured plaintiff should consult an experienced San Diego medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after such an experience to determine the best method of starting their claim.
Once the plaintiff and their attorney have formed the foundation of their case and determined the scope of the plaintiff’s claimable damages, the next phase of a medical malpractice lawsuit is submitting the medical malpractice claim for formal review. Typically, the medical board with jurisdiction over the defendant will handle the review and then issue a Notice of Right to Sue to the plaintiff. At this point, the plaintiff and their San Diego medical malpractice lawyer may file their Complaint with the court and await the defendant’s response.
What Qualifies for a Malpractice Suit?
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff and their legal team must prove the elements of negligence to succeed with their claim. Medical malpractice cases are quite similar, but there are a few key differences all plaintiffs should know.
First, plaintiffs must determine whether they have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The first step in determining whether they do is to evaluate the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. If there was a formal doctor-patient relationship, this establishes a duty of care on the part of the defendant. This rule exists to ensure that people do not attempt to file frivolous lawsuits against medical professionals for off-the-cuff comments or things said outside of formal doctor-patient interactions.
The next element that demands consideration is the harm done by the defendant’s failure to adhere to the standard of care. If the plaintiff incurred additional medical expenses, a longer recovery time that forced them to miss additional time at work, or if the defendant’s actions caused additional medical complications or permanent damage, it could affect compensation. These are all acceptable damages a plaintiff may claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Ultimately, a plaintiff and their attorney must prove that the defendant named in their claim had a duty to adhere to the standard of care for the given situation and failed to do so. They must then provide clear evidence showing the full scope of their claimable damages as well as expert witness testimony supporting their claim.
Plaintiffs should remember that while the potential recovery for a successful medical malpractice claim can be quite significant, California does place some restrictions on the compensation a plaintiff may receive from their claim. Specifically, the state limits the amount of non-economic damages, or pain and suffering compensation, that a victim of medical malpractice can receive to $250,000. Additionally, the state also limits the amount a plaintiff can recover for their attorney’s fees using a sliding scale calculation method. California state law does not limit the amount of economic compensation a medical malpractice plaintiff can recover.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
There are few practicing medical malpractice lawyers who are also medical doctors. Ken Sigelman, J.D., M.D. is a doctor who is licensed to practice law in California and Florida, and before the United States Supreme Court. For more than 20 years, Ken Sigelman, a licensed medical doctor as well and an award-winning trial lawyer, has had an exceptional record of verdicts, settlements, and arbitration awards. If you suffered any injuries as a result of medical negligence, contact our experienced and compassionate attorneys today at (866)-971-8956 or online today for a free consultation.