There are an estimated 40,000 medical errors that occur everyday in the United States. There are a projected over 200,000 patients who will die due to medical mistakes and hospital infections. In 2015, New York State was among the highest for total medical malpractice payouts at $713,890,000 or $36.15 per capita. Currently, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional neglects to provide appropriate medical treatment, fails to take suitable life-saving action, administers treatment that may cause harm to the patient, or fails to make a proper or timely diagnosis. The malpractice committed by the doctor or medical facility usually involves some sort of error. Physicians, health care professionals, and hospitals are expected to provide specific standards of care for every patient they see and, if they fail to do so, they may encounter a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis – This is the leading type of medical error. Patients do not always have the textbook definition of a specific disease and sometimes misdiagnosis happens. Misdiagnosis most frequently occurs while analyzing infections, blood clots in the lung, tumors, heart attack, heart disease, and cancer.
- Negligence, specifically during pregnancy and/or child birth –Pregnancy is a very complex progression. Many things could go wrong during a pregnancy, even today with modern medicine. Medical problems such as unexplained vaginal bleeding, hemorrhage of the mother during pregnancy or labor, or surgical negligence during a Caesarian section are all examples of how malpractice can occur.
- Mistakes in prescribing or administering medication – Unfortunately, this type of medical error is very common. From prescribing the wrong medication to an incorrect dosage, medication can be difficult and doctors may make mistakes.
- Errors in surgery – Errors during surgery may happen more often than you think. Anesthesia-related negligence involves giving too much, too little, or the wrong type of anesthesia. While errors in surgery may include damaging a nerve, leaving a foreign object inside the patient, or failing to control bleeding.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Requirements
To qualify, medical malpractice cases should fulfill certain guidelines. You must be able to prove the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- Simple enough, you must prove you hired the physician and he or she agreed to treat you as a patient.
- The doctor was negligent
- You must be able to prove the doctor departed or deviated from the appropriate standards of care.
- The negligence of the doctor was the cause of injury
- Even if the negligence is proven, you need to be able to show the negative affects from the injury are causally related to the doctor’s negligence.
- The injury led to specific damages
- You cannot file a lawsuit unless you or a loved one has suffered harm from an injury.
If you believe your specific situation meets these requirements, it may be time to contact malpractice lawyers to assist you further.
How are Medical Malpractice Settlements Calculated?
Medical malpractice settlements vary on a case by case basis. There are two types of damages that must be addressed. Special damages or economic damages can be specifically calculated to a dollar amount. However, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, cannot be calculated to an exact amount.
Economic damages may include medical expenses, financial losses due to the negligence, lost wages as well as earning potential for the future. Present value will be considered when determining the amount of future losses. Calculating lost earning gets complicated if you are not working at the time of injury, if you had plans of a pay increase, or if you are self-employed. For severe injuries that require a lifetime of medical care, your future medical expenses will be calculated in this category.
Non-economic damages are where medical malpractice settlements get tricky, as it is difficult for a jury to place a value or dollar amount on your pain and suffering. Often times, prior to a jury trial, when a case is being negotiated for settlement, these type of damages are calculated based on what juries have awarded medical malpractice plaintiffs in the past for injuries that are similar to yours.
Both economic and non-economic damages can be further explained by a medical malpractice attorney.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or even death as a result of medical malpractice, you need The People’s Lawyer. Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman are a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers who have the knowledge and passion to fight for you and your rights. If you’ve been harmed by negligence, you may deserve reparations. Contact our office today for a free medical negligence consultation.
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