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Medical malpractice lawsuits are a common occurrence in the United States, and generally averages over 3 billion dollars every year. What exactly is considered medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a health provider deviates from the accepted standard of care in a patient’s treatment. The standard of care is considered what a reasonable medical provider would or would not have done if they were in the same situation. This helps dictate whether or not there was negligence from the health provider.
From a legal standpoint, you also must incur damage or some sort of injury that must be directly linked to the deviation from standard care. Simply experiencing a poor outcome isn’t grounds for a lawsuit due to medical malpractice. You must prove that there was a professional duty that should have been given to the patient, that the duty was not performed, that the lack of duty specifically caused the injury, and also the full extent of all injuries and damages (both economic and noneconomic loss). It’s important to note in regard to the duty that this was from a confirmed doctor-patient relationship. This seems like it would be pretty straight-forward, but if you’re unable to show that there was a specific existing relationship, then there’s no lawsuit.
Even though this is a regular thing in the United States, medical malpractice as essentially been in existence since 2030 BC with the Code of Hammurabi. Under Roman law, medical malpractice was considered wrong. Over the years, laws and records were created leading to what we have today. As far as United States history goes, these kind of lawsuits have occurred since the 1800s, but really took off after the 1960s. While many settlements have been won, the actual process can be very time-consuming with lots of stress and many expenses.
Professional Legal Council Provided in the State of Alabama
By consulting with an Alabama personal injury attorney such as Steven R. Morris, you’ll have a definitive answer if you have a legitimate claim for a malpractice lawsuit in Alabama. If we feel you have a solid claim, we will cover costs until after the settlement has been awarded, then recoup our expenses.
What are some common types of medical malpractice near Anniston, AL?
- Failure to diagnose – A competent doctor failed to make the correct diagnosis that would have led to a better outcome. There needs to be concrete proof, but this is a fairly common lawsuit.
- Improper treatment – You can look at this a couple of different ways. Either the correct treatment was given incorrectly, or the wrong treatment was given, resulting in injury/damages that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.
- Failure to adequately communicate risks – Duty of informed consent, a duty that doctors have to warn their patients in regard to risks incurred by treatments and/or procedures. If the patient states they wouldn’t have gone through with a procedure or treatment had they known the risks, then there’s the potential for liability.
What are some of the special requirements of medical malpractice lawsuits?
- Timing – Generally in most states, claims must be brought to light within 6-24 months. This time period is known as statute of limitations. If you file outside of this window, the case will be dismissed regardless.
- Review panels – Many states require an expert review panel to hear arguments, review evidence/testimony, and then make a decision either for or against the case. The decision is simply procedure only, there’s no money awarded or lost, but this is a very highly regarded decision that the courts consider before going to trial.
- Expert testimony – Often required at trial and qualification varies by state, but also depends on the nature of the malpractice. For example, if a foreign item is left inside of a patient after a surgery, you don’t necessarily need a qualified expert to explain this.
- Limits – Many states place a cap on the amount awarded.
Keep in mind, Steven R Morris Attorney at Law has several offices in North Eastern Alabama including Anniston, Jacksonville, Wedowee, Heflin and Valley. Each location has a legal team that can assist you with all your needs. Contact us today by calling us directly of filling out our Free consultation form on this page.