Not every situation in which something goes wrong or the patient’s condition worsens is medical malpractice. Medical science makes no guarantees, and not every patient will respond to treatment in every situation. It is not malpractice if the patient’s condition is untreatable or becomes worse. Provided the doctor acted with reasonable care and skill in selecting and carrying out a course of treatment, no medical malpractice has occurred.
Patients should be able to trust their doctors and healthcare providers. Sadly, medical error is a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S. If you or your loved one has been injured by a medical professional, contact a Riverside medical malpractice attorney at Hanson & Mouri in Southern California today. Our attorney is a tough advocate for medical negligence and malpractice victims.
Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses almost any situation where a medical provider’s violation of the standard of care harms a patient. However, we commonly represent clients due to:
If a doctor fails to diagnose a serious condition early on, it can prove fatal for the patient. Similarly, if a physician diagnoses a patient with the wrong condition, that patient may receive unnecessary treatments and medications that can lead to injury or death.
Many patients are injured by medical malpractice during surgery. Surgical errors can include operating on the wrong body part, patient, or leaving behind a surgical instrument.
California law mandates that patients be given the information necessary to make an educated and informed choice about what happens to their bodies. If a doctor does not fully inform a patient of all of the risks, benefits, likely outcomes, and alternative treatments relating to a particular course of treatment, and they are injured as a result of that failure, the healthcare provider can be liable.
A patient may be able to take legal action against a hospital, doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if they are injured or suffer an illness due to being given the wrong medication, an improper dose, or a defective or dangerous drug.
Prescribing too much, too little, or the wrong type of anesthesia can cause extreme pain and, in some cases, be fatal.
A medical professional’s work performance can be dramatically impacted due to a lack of sleep. Completing basic health care services or performing medical procedures while tired causes a great risk of harm for patients.
Any mistake by medical staff or a malfunction of defective equipment can cause a child or their mother devastating injuries during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or the post-delivery period.
“Standard of care” is a legal term. It means the degree of care and skill of the average healthcare provider who practices in the same specialty, considering the medical knowledge available to the physician in question. It is based on what the average physician would typically do in similar circumstances.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to a 2016 study by John Hopkins. Nearly four billion dollars were paid out for medical malpractice claims in the U.S. in 2018, as reported in the most recent Diederich Healthcare Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis.
By severity of outcome, these payments were made for injuries resulting in:
By malpractice allegations, the insurance payouts were for:
The average settlement for medical malpractice claims was approximately $309,908 between 2009 and 2018, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Here are other noteworthy medical malpractice statistics from the NPDB:
A 2017 Medscape survey of physicians indicated that the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits take between one and two years to resolve. Surgeons and OB/GYNs led the way (85% of both groups) in being the most commonly sued out of other specialties. Survey data also shows that nearly 60 percent of physicians are surprised by medical malpractice lawsuits. The top reason for legal action (31%) was the failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis.
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When bringing a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider, there are state laws that can impact your case and the amount of compensation you recover.
Under California law, a patient or their family may pursue a civil claim for damages from a physician or other health care provider that causes them injury or death. However, for a claim to be successful, the patient or their family has the burden to prove the following:
California recognizes the doctrine of pure comparative fault. This rule reduces a patient’s awarded compensation in proportion to their contribution to their injury.
For example, if a patient is awarded $20,000 and is found 40 percent responsible for their injury because they withheld vital medical history from their doctor, they will only receive $12,000.
The state of California has set a specific time period in which medical malpractice victims are legally allowed to pursue a claim. This law is known as the statute of limitations (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5) and is as follows:
If you attempt to bring a claim once the statute of limitations has passed, a court can dismiss your case, and you will be unable to recover any compensation. There are exceptions that toll or pause the statute of limitations. For instance,
California law also requires plaintiffs to give the defendant (at-fault party) at least 90 days’ notice of their intent to file the lawsuit. The letter must include:
If you file the notice of intent within 90 days of the statute of limitations’ end date, the court will extend the time for filing suit by 90 days.
Once a lawyer takes on your medical malpractice case, they will begin to gather evidence. There are three stages to collecting evidence: the initial review stage, the discovery phase, and the trial phase.
In the initial review phase, your attorney’s legal team will acquire your medical records. All of your medical records and supporting healthcare documentation are critical to building a successful medical malpractice claim. These records include notes, test results, consultation records or evaluations, prescriptions, etc. Your lawyer will have them reviewed by board-certified medical experts in the appropriate specialties to confirm your case has merit.
In the discovery phase, your lawyer will conduct depositions of the defendant, other key witnesses, such as medical staff present when the injury occurred, or family or friends on how your injury has impacted your life, as well as expert witnesses. Expert witnesses will help prove the expected standard of care was not met by your healthcare provider, which directly caused your injuries or illness. Your lawyer will also gather medical literature, such as journals and articles, that expert witnesses can sometimes rely on to show how your medical care should have been handled. If your case reaches trial, your attorney will present these essential pieces of evidence to the court.
Each component that goes into proving a medical malpractice claim takes extensive research, a thorough understanding of the applicable laws, and experience in dealing with hospital administrative staff and insurance companies.
Victims of medical negligence have the right to obtain damages. Damages is a legal term for the compensation awarded in civil cases to make up for a victim’s losses. There are two types of recoverable damages:
Economic damages are awarded as a direct result of calculable losses, such as:
Non-economic damages include incalculable or subjective losses, such as:
In some cases, punitive damages are awarded, but they can be exceedingly difficult to claim and prove. This type of compensation is only granted in cases involving outrageous conduct and is meant to punish the defendant.
In California, there is a cap of $250,000 placed on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This is due to a specialized statute enacted in 1975, called the Medical Injury Compensation Recovery Act (MICRA). Unfortunately, the potential amount of harm and pain, and suffering inflicted on a patient can easily exceed this amount. However, this limit does not apply to economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income.
Medical Malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider deviates from the accepted standards of practice in the medical community. When this occurs, the negligent act, or failure to act, can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, mental anguish, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death to the patient. Medical professionals have insurance companies and lawyer working hard to keep their malpractice costs to a minimum. If you or a family member believe you have been the victim of fatal medical negligence malpractice you need a San Bernardino wrongful death lawyer on your side to answer all your questions and represent your legal rights.
Our Riverside personal injury attorney specializes in medical malpractice injuries occurring in a hospital or other medical facility, and during outpatient care. On average, up to 195,000 annual hospital deaths are due to potentially preventable medical errors. In addition, medication errors, the most common type of medical mistake, injure around 1.5 million people each year. If you or your loved one has been the victim of malpractice, even if the medical professional had no intention of harming the victim, you need a lawyer to explain your familyʼs rights.
Our Riverside medical malpractice lawyer specialize in injuries resulting from, but not limited to:
The medical mistreatment of you or your family can have a severe impact on the financial capabilities of the entire family. Hospital bills are often enormous and can take years to fully repay. Your family may also experience economic hardship from loss of wages or earning capacity and life care expenses. Our experience can help get your family the money they need to pay bills, avoid the foreclosure of your home, and damage to your credit. Our medical malpractice attorney serves Riverside and San Bernardino with 14 years of experience and will provide you with passionate, quality legal representation. Put our experience to work for you and your family members. An experienced Inland Empire medical malpractice attorney can work to get your family monetary compensation to help pay your bills and ease your pain and suffering.
Contact our law firm now for a free consultation and we will listen to your case. We will keep you informed of significant developments and provide legal services promptly and professionally. Hospitals and insurance companies have lawyer working hard on their side, you and your loved ones deserve to have your rights protected by a professional. At Hanson & Mouri, a Riverside personal injury and Riverside car accident attorney can work to make your family whole again. We also serve accident victims in San Bernardino.
Our law office serves Riverside, Corona, Norco, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Beaumont, Moreno Valley, & Calimesa.