When we go to the doctor, we expect to come home healthier than before treatment. A single mistake made by a doctor, nurse, medical technician, or care team member can end or tragically change a patient’s life and the lives of everyone who loves that person. If you or someone you know has been injured due to medical negligence, it’s crucial you hire a Columbia medical malpractice lawyer who has the experience needed to guide your case through the legal system.
Medical malpractice is defined as a doctor’s or other medical professional’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill that a similar physician would use under similar circumstances. When medical standards are not followed, this is also medical malpractice. An experienced malpractice attorney will understand the medical and legal standards that relate to medical malpractice claims. This will help your claim reach the courts in a prompt, accurate, and most complete way possible.
Solomon Law Group is prepared to assist you. We have malpractice attorneys, nurses, and staff trained to properly handle complicated medical error cases and we won’t hesitate to go up against major hospitals, corporations, and medical institutions in presenting your case. With our help, your family can finally recover.
What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice?
When you’re in the care of a hospital, you’re owed a certain standard of care. In other words, doctors and staff members have a professional duty to operate as they are trained and make decisions to the best of their abilities. Medical malpractice happens when the defendant (the doctor, nurse, or medical professional) didn’t operate within that standard of care. In this situation, we sometimes say they’re guilty of medical negligence.
For a lawsuit to fall in your favor, your attorney will have to build a strong case containing the following elements:
- The accepted standard of care. The standard of care is a legal term that refers to the acceptable ways to diagnose, treat, and care for patients. Trained medical professionals should act in similar ways when presented with similar situations. If your doctor acted in a way that another physician in a similar specialty would not have, they may have breached the standard of care.
- How your treatment didn’t meet the standard of care. To show how you were not treated within the guidelines of the standard of care, an expert witness can explain how your physician should have acted based on your situation and condition.
- You were injured. Your lawyer will need to use your medical records to show you sustained an injury that caused economic and noneconomic damages like additional medical bills, time away from work, and pain and suffering.
- How the negligent actions lead to your injury. After proving the three elements above, the final task it to draw connections between the breached standard of care and your injury. When a case is strongly presented with all four elements, your chance of receiving compensation is significantly higher.
How Frequently Do Negligent Medical Mistakes Occur?
Physicians undergo years of schooling in order to be deemed ready to practice medicine and care for patients. Unfortunately, even with extensive education, there are doctors who act negligently and harm the people they’re supposed to be taking care of. Instances of medical malpractice are much higher than they should be. As a result, thousands of unsuspecting victims lose their lives each year.
According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, beneath heart disease and cancer. Patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are a result of mistakes made by medical professionals. That figure means that nearly 10 percent of deaths annually are caused by mistakes made by doctors and hospitals.
The study notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not take medical errors into account with their top three causes of death – the third of which is respiratory disease, because the top-causes they report are in regard to research funding and public health priorities. Medical errors are unintentionally excluded from national health statistics.
The research cautions that most medical mistakes aren’t due to inherently bad doctors. Instead, a broken system that underuses safety nets, offers poorly coordinated care, and doesn’t keep track of physician accountability is to blame.
What Instances of Medical Malpractice Occur Commonly?
There are a few common types of medical malpractice that often affect patients the most. When doctors make errors in these areas, you may have grounds to file a claim:
- Misdiagnosis. Your doctor could miss signs and give you the wrong diagnosis or say you’re fine – especially if they neglect to ask their colleagues for a second opinion. You could get treatment for a condition you don’t have, while your real condition gets worse.
- Wrong-Site Surgery. This terrifying subject has a few versions. You could get the wrong operation, the surgeon could operate on the wrong side of your body, or a surgeon could sew up the surgical site but leave medical tools or sponges behind. Mistakes like that often require additional surgeries, which can put a patient in a dangerous situation and significantly extend their recovery time.
- Prescription Errors. This could come from a misdiagnosis or your doctor giving you the wrong prescription. This could damage your long-term health by causing severe reactions to the wrong medicine or exacerbating your condition because you didn’t receive the correct medicine in a timely manner.
- Failure to Diagnose. When a doctor fails to diagnose a serious illness like cancer, they can miss a crucial window to start treating the life-threatening disease. Failing to diagnose can result from inexperience, incompetence, or negligence.
- Birth Injuries. Mothers expect to receive the best care possible during pregnancy and while giving birth. Unfortunately, inexperienced or negligent physicians can harm a pregnant patient or the infant. Birth injuries can be life-long and require significant medical intervention for a person to maintain a high quality of life.
- Anesthesia Errors. An anesthesiologist has one of the most important jobs before and during surgery. They are supposed to evaluate a patient to determine which anesthesia is right for them, as well as calculating how much will be needed to sedate the patient without any lasting effects. When mistakes are made, a person with too much anesthesia could suffer from conditions like permanent brain damage, while someone with too little could experience unnecessary pain or awareness during the procedure.
- Withheld Risks. Before medical procedures, doctors need to inform the patient of the associated risks. A patient might decide to not go through with the procedure when they learn about the dangers. If a doctor doesn’t inform the patient, then the patient can’t give informed consent. It also needs to be confirmed that the patient is able to make informed decisions for themselves. If a medical condition prevents them from doing so, the individual with power of attorney needs to be informed and allowed to make the decision.
Sometimes, the doctor isn’t the one who was negligent. Faulty equipment could be a manufacturer’s error, or the hospital could make a mistake that affects you and your health.
Why Do Medical Professionals Make Preventable Mistakes?
Negligence can occur in a number of ways in a hospital setting. Being aware of the ways mistakes happen can help you be on the lookout for negligent actions. One of the biggest ways errors occur is as a result of understaffing. This is a common issue in the medical world. If a doctor or nurse is assigned to too many patients, it’s possible for mix-ups to occur with medications or procedures. This is also likely to happen if a staff member is working multiple shifts and is fatigued.
Just as sleep deprivation can increase the risks of mistakes, using drugs or alcohol while practicing medicine has a similar effect. Doctors, nurses, or pharmacists are more likely to make poor judgment calls or incorrectly calculate medicine while under the influence of a substance.
In addition to the ways listed above, inexperience and communication errors can result in preventable mistakes. An inexperienced medical professional may decide to make a call without consulting another physician in order to not look incompetent. This can have serious consequences if the wrong decision is made. Communication errors happen when staff neglect to keep charts up-to-date or don’t confirm procedures with each other.
To prove you were harmed by a preventable medical error, you will need an experienced attorney who can build you a strong case against the negligent physician or health care professional.
Proving Medical Malpractice
When you file for medical malpractice, there is a lot of evidence you can provide that will support your claim.
- Get a Medical Malpractice Attorney. Their goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve. They know how this process works and will be able to walk you through it step-by-step.
- Gather Evidence. Get copies of your medical records, prescription receipts, and documents related to your recovery. An expert witness will provide testimony of your doctor’s negligence, and you’ll have the documents to prove it. Give the copies to your lawyer, who will look them over and find areas where you could get compensation.
- Contact Appropriate Parties. Inform the insurance company and the hospital of your intent to file a claim. Your lawyer can facilitate this communication.
- File Complaint. If your claim is denied, this doesn’t mean the whole process is over. You can appeal the claim and file a lawsuit with your lawyer’s help.
What Are the Benefits of Filing a Malpractice Claim?
Filing a claim against a doctor or hospital that neglected to take care of you might sound intimidating, which is why you should hire a South Carolina medical malpractice attorney. With a skilled lawyer, you’ll have a professional on your side who will know how to make your case as strong as possible.
The results of medical malpractice can be devastating and affect the rest of your life or take away the life of a loved one. Your recovery from medical malpractice could get expensive and make you miss out on opportunities in the future. If your loved one had an integral financial part in someone’s life, the loss of that support can be scary.
- Medical Expenses. Past medical visits, medication costs, and recovery expenses you’ll have to pay in the future can cause a lot of financial stress, especially when you weren’t at fault. A medical malpractice claim could get you compensation for these expenses.
- Lost Wages. If your recovery prevents you from working, you might be able to get compensation for lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering. You can get compensation for the new complications and stressors that arise when a medical professional or facility betrays your trust.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been injured or died due to medical malpractice, you don’t have to go through it alone. The personal injury lawyers at Solomon Law Group are ready to stand by your side and help you fight for your rights. We understand the complexities surrounding med mal cases and will do what it takes to build a strong case that holds the negligent party accountable for their actions.
After suffering from medical malpractice, you shouldn’t have to worry about hospital bills. You should focus on recovery and well-being. Filing a claim can put you on track to receiving the compensation you need to get your life back in order. You deserve peace of mind that you will be able to continue living your life.
Don’t wait another day. It’s important to file your claim within the state-required three-year statute of limitations. Neglecting to do so could render you ineligible for compensation. We can determine just how much time you have based on the specifics of your situation. Contact Solomon Law Group for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your claim and what options are in your best interests.