Medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and which causes injury to the patient.
Simply put, medical malpractice is professional negligence (by a healthcare provider) that causes an injury. Negligence can encompass an error in diagnosis, treatment or illness management, and can implicate the doctor, hospital or health facility, or government agency that manages the hospital or health facility.
Medical Malpractice Rewards & Compensations
Below is a partial list showing the rewards and compensations we have secured by our Illinois and Chicago medical malpractice lawyers for our injured clients.
- $14,000,000 RECORD HIGH AWARD to a 51-year-old woman whose lung cancer diagnosis was delayed several years by a lack of communication among her doctors at Northwestern Hospital. The $14 million verdict was the highest ever in Illinois for cancer misdiagnosis.
- $5,000,000 in future payments in a medical malpractice case as a result of physician negligence.
- $6,500,000 for injury to a baby by a negligent doctor.
- $3,600,000 paid by medical providers for failing to diagnose a terminal illness of a male patient.
- $1,400,000 paid on nursing home negligence resulting in serious leg injury to patient.
- $1,000,000 for nursing home negligence.
- $750,000 for a victim when defendants were found to be legally and medically negligent.
- $700,000 paid as a result of nursing home negligence.
WERE YOU INJURED AS A RESULT OF YOUR DOCTOR’S NEGLIGENCE?
According to Wikipedia, medical malpractice is a professional negligence by act or omission by a healthcare provider, in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error. Standards and regulations for medical malpractice vary by country and jurisdiction within the countries. Medical professionals may obtain professional liability insurance to offset the risk of costs of lawsuits based on medical malpractice.
It is astonishing medical malpractice happens so often in the United States. In fact, statistics show that approximately 195,000 people are killed every year by medical errors in the United States. There is a study which notes that 1.14 million patient incidents occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population over the years 2000-2002. Hospital’s costs associated with such medical errors were estimated at 324 million dollars in October of 2008 alone.
The person who can bring a claim is a person who was injured as a result of the doctor’s negligence. Medical malpractice is loosely defined as a doctor or medical provider who fails to conduct their care in a reasonable manner within the community or jurisdiction where the malpractice occurs. Healthcare providers usually refers to the physician, the team includes any medical care provider, including dentists, nurses and therapists.
In order to establish a medical malpractice case, a person who have to prove the following obligations or facts:
- A legal duty exists whenever a hospital or healthcare provider undertakes the care of a patient;
- A duty was breached or they failed to conform to the relevant standard of care in the community;
- The negligence caused an injury which was a proximate result of the negligence; and
- You must prove in detail, damages both for money and emotional losses.
If the person dies as a result of medical malpractice, that person’s family or next of kin could bring a claim called a wrongful death. Like other cases, one should seek out a law firm which concentrates its practice in medical malpractice claims. The injured party through its lawyer, normally, brings a lawsuit in the appropriate jurisdiction. When a lawsuit is brought, there is what is called a discovery procedure where each side is entitled to ask the other side pertinent questions relating to the injuries. After written discovery is complete, known as interrogatories, then depositions are normally taken of parties who would testify at the trial. It is the injured party who has the burden to prove all the elements through evidence that someone was negligent. Both parties normally bring expert witnesses which are paid for to review all the circumstances and who would testify whether or not the physician or healthcare provider failed to follow the standard of care in that community. The fact finder is either a Judge or a Jury. Usually you have to prove by preponderance of the evidence that the party caused the injury, the party was negligent, caused the injury and as a result of their conduct many damages resulted.
It is important to secure an attorney immediately because a medical malpractice claim has to be filed within a certain period of time, pursuant to that State’s statute of limitations. If you fail to secure an attorney and file a lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires, you will be forever barred from bringing a claim for compensation. Most lawyers will not take cases unless the injuries are significant in that it is very expensive to prove a medical malpractice case. It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring a claim in that the discovery process and hiring of expert witnesses are extremely costly. In that lawsuits are so expensive, many insurance company’s attempt to settle the case and give the money to the injured party in lieu of going through a full blown out jury trial which could take weeks or months to prove.
A 2004 study of medical malpractice claims the United States examining primary care malpractice found that through incidents of negligence in hospitals produced a greater proportion of severe outcomes. The total number of errors and deaths due to errors were greater for outpatient setting. No single medical condition was associated with more than 5% of the negligent claims, and one-third of all the claims were the result of misdiagnosis.
To prove a medical malpractice case, in general, there are three matters which must be proved.
- A violation of the standard of care, or failing to comply with medical standards which are recognized by a professional within the same area of specialty and geographical area.
- An injury was caused by negligence. For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, the healthcare professional has violated the proven standard of care in the community, and the plaintiff sustained an injury as a result of their negligence; and
- The injury resulted in significant damages.
In that medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive, frequently requiring testimony of numerous and countless hours of deposition testimony for a cause to be viable, the patient must show significant damages resulting in injury. If the costs are too high, they will offset the award of damages and the plaintiff will not be able to secure much money. This is why most lawyers who are well respected only handle cases which resulted in very serious or catastrophic injuries.
Medical malpractice can take on many different forms. The following are examples of medical negligence which might lead to a lawsuit:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis;
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results;
- Unnecessary surgery;
- Surgical errors or wrongful site surgery;
- Improper medication or doses;
- Poor follow-up or aftercare;
- Premature discharge;
- Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history;
- Failure to order proper testing; and
- Failing to recognize symptoms.
Pursuant to Wikipedia, medical malpractice is a professional negligence which is caused by a healthcare provider whose treatment falls below the standard of care in the specific medical community and medical location. Malpractice causes injury or death to the patient, which in most cases involves an error on the part of the physician or medical staff. Standards for medical malpractice vary from state to state and even county to county. Most physicians have professional liability insurance to offset the risk and cost of lawsuits from malpractice claims.
Astonishingly, statistics show that approximately 195,000 people are killed every year by medical mistakes, just in the United States. The study notes that 1.14 million patients’ safety incidents occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population over the years 2000-2002. It is also noted that hospital costs due to these errors were estimated in excess of 324 million dollars in one year alone. There is 15,000-19,000 malpractice suits brought against doctors annually. Plaintiff is the party who is injured, or if death occurs, it would be the next of kin or executor of the estate who would bring a lawsuit. The defendant is the doctor or healthcare provider. Normally, it is a physician. However, the term includes medical care provider which includes dentists, nurses and therapists. Claims can also be brought against hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations and corporations.
There are four elements to a cause of action on a medical malpractice claim. They are as follows:
- A duty was owed, and a legal duty exists whenever a hospital or healthcare provider undertakes care or treatment of a patient;
- A duty was breached and the provider failed to conform to the relevant standard of care;
- The breach causes injury or the breach of duty was the proximate cause of injury;
- Damages. Without significant losses of compensatory damages or emotional damages, most lawyers will not take the case nothwithstanding the medical providers’ negligence because the costs are so high;
It is imperative to contact an attorney immediately who concentrates their practice in medical malpractice. Many of our lawyers do and have 20-30 years of experience. You can contact our firm, David K. Kremin & Associates for a free consultation. If we accept your case, we never charge unless we collect money for you.
There are also statutes of limitations that require a lawsuit be filed within a certain period of time from the date of incident. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires, you will be forever barred from filing a claim or being compensated.
In order to bring a medical malpractice claim, it is required that an expert witness be secured with similar qualifications and standards, which are similar to the medical provider who caused the malpractice.
There are usually two types of damages in medical negligence cases. Compensatory damages are both economic and non-economic. Economic damages include money losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses and life care expenses. Those damages may be assessed for past and future losses. Non-economic damage is a potential damage award for physical and psychological harm, such as loss of vision, loss of limb or organ, the reduced quality of life due to disability or loss of a loved one, severe pain and emotional distress. Punitive damages are only awarded in the event of wanton and reckless conduct. In most jurisdictions, punitive damages are not allowed in medical malpractice cases.
Studies have shown that 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties and 100% physicians in high-risk specialties could expect to face a malpractice claim during their career. Also, studies have shown that 73% of malpractice claims are settled, and 72% are denied compensation. Most lawyers will not take a case unless there is a significant injury, because the cost to prove a malpractice case is extremely high. As previously indicated, it is amazing that 195,000 people in the United States died annually due to medical malpractice.
The studies among the findings in Healthgrade’s Patient Safety in American Hospital’s studies are as follows:
- About 1.14 million patient-safety incidents occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population over years 2000-2002;
- Europe patient-safety incidents, in the best performing hospitals, resulted in a lower cost of over $700,000.00 for 1,000 hospitalizations, as compared to the bottom 10% of the hospitals;
- Overall, the best performing hospitals had 5 fewer deaths per 1,000 hospitalizations compared to the bottom 10% of hospitals;
- Patient’s safety incidents with the highest rates per 1,000 hospitalizations for failure to rescue, decubitus ulcer and post-operative sepsis;
- The 16 patient-safety incidents accounted for 8.54 billion in excess in-patient costs to the Medicare system over a 3 year study;
- 1 out of every 4 Medicare patients who were hospitalized from 2000-2002 and experienced a patient-safety incident had died;
Pursuant to The Center for Disease Control’s annual list of Leading Cause of Death included medical errors. It has shown up as number 6 ahead of diabetes, pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Renal disease.
If you are admitted to the hospital, this author suggests you review the findings of the Healthgrade’s Patient-Safety Hospitals, which have been highly-rated as having the least amount of medical malpractice claims. It is believed that these hospitals are safer than other hospitals.
It can be very difficult to determine if you have a medical malpractice case. In that you need expert medical witnesses to prove the healthcare provider did something incorrectly. When evaluating a case from the beginning, a medical malpractice attorney will look at a three-step process as follows:
- The type and severity of the injury needs to be established;
- Knowing that a patient was injured, did the doctor do anything wrong?
- The final major component is established in the link between the doctors error and the injury that resulted.
Ultimately, any potential medical malpractice case needs to be evaluated by a qualified attorney and its experts. The sooner legal advice and representation is pursued, the more likely the evidence will be preserved and your case will be filed within the required period of time. There are statutes of limitations which will bar you from filing a claim if it is not filed within a certain period of time. It is imperative you contact our office immediately to protect your interests, if you believe you have a claim.
There has been a trend that many medical malpractice cases are based on failure to give proper or inappropriate medication.
Most medication mistakes can cause serious injuries or even wrongful death. David K. Kremin & Associates and its affiliated law firms have been involved in medication mistake cases which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to its clients. Other situations involve medical professionals administrating drugs which resulted in severe brain injuries. Situations like this often occur due to multiple medical personnel failing to properly communicate with each other, including failing to notify nurses or doctors when medication was administrated before a shift change.
When David K. Kremin & Associates, takes on a medical malpractice case, we have the medical records reviewed and determine if there was a medication error.
Our lawyers have at least 20-30 years experience in medical malpractice cases involving serious injuries to patients and wrongful deaths. Cases include: medical malpractice, birth injuries, cerebral palsy, surgical error, brain damage and wrongful death. Our lawyers have tried or settled a significant amount of medical malpractice cases and in some cases, secured the highest awards ever paid in a certain district at a specific time.
We do not sue doctors or hospitals simply for bad results, but if mistakes have been made by a healthcare professional in testing, diagnosis, treatment or care, a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you. Legal action can involve doctors and nurses as well as hospitals or nursing homes.A relatively new study finds that surgical malpractice occurs 4,000 times annually. Patient-safety researchers at the John Hopkins Medical School examine data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a Federal Respiratory of information about medical malpractice claims from across the Country. To track the incident of serious surgical errors between 1990 and 2010, specifically, researchers looked for suits and settlements relating to:
- Retain foreign bodies;
- Wrong site surgery or when a surgeon performed procedure on the wrong part of the patient’s body;
- Wrong procedure surgery or when a surgeon performs the incorrect procedure on a patient; and
- Wrong patient surgery or when a surgeon operated on an incorrect patient.
Overall, researchers identified nearly 10,000 instances of these sort of medical errors over 20 years. Just over 6% of patients died, and 33% were permanently injured, while 59% experienced temporary injuries.
The researchers estimated that surgeons in the United States leave a sponge or foreign object in a patient 39 times each week, perform the wrong procedure on patients 20 times each week and operated on wrong body sites 20 times each week. This means that these sort of errors occur approximately 4,000 times in the United States each year.
In many hospitals, safety procedures are already in place to prevent these errors. Some examples include, where hospitals have mandatory time outs before surgery begins or a surgical team must confirm the medical plan and medical records match the patient they have on the table. Surgical teams will also mark the site of surgery with indelible ink before surgery begins to make sure they are performing the correct operation. Many surgeons also use equipment check lists to ensure all equipment is accounted for before a procedure is concluded. Nevertheless, despite these safe guards, accidents still happen.
Another basis for medical malpractice lawsuits relate to injuries from laser surgeries. Over a 25 year period, 174 cases of Cutaneueous injuries were reported following procedures such as hair removal and facial rejuvenation. Although in only 100 cases the physicians actually performed the procedure, and in 146 cases the physician was listed as a defendant. The data clearly suggests that liability is placed on the physicians.
There appears to be no Federal requirements as to who can use lasers and on the training and supervision that is needed. An action for medical malpractice is based on negligent infliction of personal injury or wrongful death in the course of medical treatment by a provider who professes to have a special knowledge and skill in a practice of medicine. Negligence is the failure to act in a reasonable prudent manner. To explore these types of injuries, the researchers searched a large data base for cases and verdicts from 1985-2012.
States with the largest number of cases are California, New York and Texas.
Plastic surgeons were most commonly involved in malpractice. However, there are cases involving obstetrics and gynecology to radiology and non-physicians, such as nurses and aestheticians where the laser operators in almost 40% of the instances.
Hair removal was the most common procedure leading to injury and legal action. In the most common laser procedure overall, a total of 900,000 procedures are performed nationwide in 2011 alone. In some states, including Texas and New York, no requirement for operator licensing for procedures exists, and other procedures frequently involved include various types of skin rejuvenation and treatment of vascular lesions and leg veins. The type of rejuvenation specified in many of the cases are carbon dioxide resurfacing, rarely done today, because of the high frequency of scarring and problems occurring during treatment of leg veins which may relate to the high likelihood of complication. The specific injuries reported were burns, scars and change in pigments. There are often complaints of emotional distress and lower quality of life.
Negligence was not the only cause of malpractice, but additional allegations against physicians include failure to train and supervise staff, inadequate provisions of informed consent when patient claims have not been fully apprised of potential hazards, and there was use of inappropriate devices.
David K. Kremin & Associates and its affiliated law firms have been representing clients who have been injured as a result of medical negligence for 20-30 years. Our firms handle legal matters which include birth injury cases, cerebral palsy cases, surgical errors, anesthesia error situations and other types of medically related legal claims.
If you have been injured by a healthcare provider, please contact our office for a free consultation at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529. There is never a charge unless we collect money for you. We promise you will talk with an attorney with 20-30 years experience in this area of law. Most of our lawyers have been named the Top Lawyers in the State.