Do I Have a Legal Claim for Medical Errors?
May 17, 2022 | Medical Malpractice
Some people have a natural fear when it comes to medical care. Some patients do whatever they can to avoid being seen by doctors, while others faint at the sight of blood. In any case, the news of medical malpractice lawsuits does not soothe the fears of medical care for these types of patients.
When the negligent medical errors performed by healthcare professionals lead to severe and life-threatening injuries for patients, healthcare professionals have committed the act of medical malpractice.
You need the experience of a medical malpractice attorney when dealing with injuries or illnesses from a medical error.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
According to a recent survey by the American Medical Association, more than one-third of physicians encounter a medical malpractice allegation in their career. Of that number of physicians, nearly half have already dealt with two or more medical malpractice cases.
As terrifying as it is for patients to think about, medical malpractice cases are quite common within the healthcare industry. Medical malpractice cases are so common that medical errors have become the third leading cause of death for United States citizens.
Common Reasons For Medical Malpractice
Why have medical errors become so commonplace within the healthcare industry? Common reasons include human error, communication issues, poor flow of information, inadequate staffing, and technical issues.
#1. Human Error
Many people understand that humans are flawed and capable of making mistakes. However, there are simple errors that healthcare professionals commit that can cause patients to experience serious injuries. Some of these errors include documentation errors, mislabeling test results, and having inadequate knowledge about a patient’s condition that affects the patient’s ability to receive the proper care.
#2. Communication Issues
Like many occupations, many issues within the healthcare industry arise from breakdowns in communication. Medical errors are no different. It is very common for healthcare professionals to miscommunicate, from failing to write down notes about a patient’s progress to failing to communicate a patient’s test results to a nurse or other healthcare professional.
#3. Poor Information Flow
Have you ever transferred to another healthcare facility and felt frustrated when your providers did not transfer your medical records with you? That is an example of poor information flow between healthcare centers. When the necessary information does not follow you to your new healthcare center, it can cause more issues for you than just a mere inconvenience. Your prescriptions, test results, and other important medical information can be jeopardized when healthcare professionals fail to keep your information nearby.
#4. Inadequate Staffing
One of the primary issues currently affecting all healthcare professionals is inadequate staffing. Healthcare professionals like nurses are experiencing a nationwide shortage due to several factors. The stress from the coronavirus pandemic has led to thousands of healthcare professionals experiencing job burnout at record numbers.
The abnormal rise of patients entering hospitals and urgent care centers due to the pandemic has not helped matters. It is very easy for healthcare professionals who remained in the field to commit a medical error under these circumstances.
#5. Technical Issues
The same stress caused by the pandemic has also affected the wear and tear of medical devices and equipment. Because these pieces of equipment are in constant use, it is possible that the technology has become defective or worn down. When medical equipment breaks down, it can decide between life and death for some patients.
Different Types of Medical Errors
Medical errors are preventable effects on a person’s care. Whether the patient is aware of the medical error, medical professionals can be held liable just for the act alone. Medical professionals can commit different medical errors such as misdiagnosis, medication errors, infection, etc.
#1. Medication Errors
Healthcare professionals commit this type of error when prescribing the incorrect amount of medication for patients or prescribing the wrong medication to the wrong patient. These are one of the most life-threatening medical errors that can cause serious pain to patients. Patients can obtain a medication that is not strong enough for their pain or too strong enough for the patient to handle.
When healthcare professionals diagnose patients with the wrong type of condition, it can cause the patient to experience serious injury. Patients who receive the incorrect treatment for a condition they do not have experience a serious decline in their health. Patients who are not properly diagnosed with the right condition are at risk of experiencing more severe symptoms as time goes on.
Many people forget how easy it is for patients and healthcare staff members to become exposed to infections. Even though healthcare centers must take extra precautions and routinely clean their tools and areas, inadequate staffing and the constant workload can cause healthcare professionals to slack on cleaning protocols. It is very easy for infections to spread between healthcare centers.
#4. Inadequate Medical Device Placement
Like many medical procedures, placing a medical device inside a patient requires concise precision and care. Healthcare professionals can cause patients additional pain when they fail to properly place a medical device like a stent into a patient’s body. A patient’s blood supply is at risk of being cut off, leading to additional health problems for the patient.
#5. Failing to Supply the Appropriate Number of Medical Tools
Healthcare professionals who perform surgery are guilty of committing this medical error. There is much preparation that a medical professional must perform before conducting surgery on a patient. That includes accounting for the correct amount of sponges, tweezers, clamps, swabs, and all materials necessary for the surgery.
When medical professionals miscount these items, they risk exposing the patient to infection. In some cases, the patient has to have another surgery performed due to the professional’s issue.
Difficulties With Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice incidents are some of the most common personal injury lawsuits nationwide. Unfortunately, there is also one of the most difficult lawsuits to prosecute. Patients pursuing a medical malpractice claim often face an uphill battle. Even if a patient successfully brings their medical malpractice claim to trial, there is no guarantee that the patient will win. Listed below are some common reasons medical malpractice lawsuits are difficult to win.
Establishing Negligence on the Part of the Healthcare Professional
One of the most difficult aspects of a medical malpractice lawsuit is proving that the healthcare professional was negligent in their conduct toward the patient. A medical error is not enough to prove that a medical professional has committed medical malpractice.
The plaintiff’s legal representation must prove that the medical professional’s actions veer from the standard of care that the industry requires all professionals to strive for. This means that the plaintiff’s legal representation must rely on the expertise of other medical experts to prove that the defendant’s actions were negligent.
Convincing the Jury That the Medical Professional Was Negligent
Another difficult aspect of a medical malpractice lawsuit is convincing the jury that the medical professional’s actions were negligent. A medical malpractice lawsuit will already be difficult for jurors to understand based on the technical jargon.
Jurors can easily misunderstand the medical knowledge and procedures in the case. The plaintiff’s attorney needs to present medical experts who can explain these procedures in the simplest terms to the jury.
Establishing the Strongest Evidence to Present the Best Case for the Plaintiff
Another obstacle that the plaintiff’s lawyer will have on their hands is providing the best evidence to strengthen the plaintiff’s case in court. Medical malpractice lawyers must analyze and use the right evidence to increase the plaintiff’s chances of winning their lawsuit.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer is skilled in determining the correct type of medical evidence to use in the lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer will know when it is appropriate to rely on the testimony of a medical expert or when to use the medical injuries of their plaintiff as evidence.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help?
Even though it is difficult to sue a medical professional for medical malpractice, a qualified medical malpractice lawyer can help strengthen your chances of winning. Here are some of the benefits of seeking the legal counsel of a medical malpractice lawyer:
Assisting With the Negotiation Process
Healthcare insurance companies may attempt to persuade you to accept a settlement offer instead of pursuing a malpractice lawsuit. If you find yourself in this predicament, a medical malpractice lawyer can stop the insurance company’s attempts to harass you. A medical malpractice lawyer can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to provide you with some form of compensation while you focus on healing.
Evaluating the Extent of Your Claim
A medical malpractice lawyer can also review your claim and ensure that you receive as many forms of compensation as you qualify for. A medical malpractice lawyer knows the different factors that can increase the types of compensation that you can request from the medical professional. Some of these factors include the type of injury you have endured, the consequences of your injury, and the lack of care performed by the medical professional.
Providing the Best Representation for You at Trial
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can provide the best representation for you should your medical malpractice claim make it to trial. A medical malpractice lawyer can prove that your medical injuries resulted from the medical professional’s negligence.
A medical malpractice lawyer can prove the negligence of a healthcare professional through the expert testimonies of more qualified medical experts. A medical malpractice lawyer also has experience communicating difficult medical terminology to jurors who may not know the medical jargon. Your lawyer can assist with presenting the best case that strengthens your chances of success in the lawsuit.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
A medical malpractice lawyer can also assist with filing your medical malpractice claim within the appropriate statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the designated period that a personal injury victim has to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged defendant. While the statute of limitations varies from state to state, the general period is two or three years from the date of the accident. In some states, the statute of limitations is shorter for medical malpractice cases than other personal injury claims.
You may think that you have enough time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the appropriate parties, but the quicker the claim is filed, the better your chances of trial. Even if you are still recovering from your injuries, a medical malpractice lawyer can still assist you with the claim process.
Helping You Avoid Mistakes When Filing Your Claim
When suffering after a medical malpractice lawsuit, you are in a fragile state. You might have concerns about physically recovering from your injuries while contemplating legal action against the negligent medical professionals. Because this is likely your first time filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you are prone to making mistakes along the way. You want to avoid making as many mistakes as possible when fighting for the total compensation to cover your medical bills, other expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Speak to a Qualified Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have suffered a serious medical injury from a medical professional’s negligence, you deserve to receive appropriate compensation. Fighting for compensation is not something you should do alone.
Schedule a free consultation with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer today so you can focus on recovery.