Medical Malpractice Attorney
As horrible as it may seem, medical error is a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S. If you or your loved one has been injured through a healthcare provider’s negligence, contact the Bethesda medical malpractice lawyer at Carson and Smith Law Offices, LLC today. We are dedicated advocates for victims of medical malpractice.
Why Choose Carson and Smith Law Offices, LLC
- Our trial lawyers have more than 15 years of experience. We know how to handle medical malpractice cases and what it takes to win maximum compensation for our clients.
- Our personal injury lawyers on a contingency fee basis, allowing injured people access to the legal system and justice. You do not pay us any fees unless we secure a recovery for you.
- We value relationships and forge close partnerships with our clients. As your law firm, we will protect your rights, answer your questions, and keep you informed of the progress in your case.
When You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you go to a doctor or hospital for a procedure, even something routine, the last thing you expect is for medical malpractice to occur–yet it happens, often with devastating effects.
If you or a loved one were injured through the negligence of a doctor, registered nurse, physician’s assistant, or another healthcare professional, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after the discovery of the malpractice. They will work with you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Some common injuries that can come from medical malpractice include injuries during surgery, such as:
- bowel perforation
- nicked arteries
- nerve damage
- operating on the wrong body part
- leaving medical instruments or other objects inside the patient
- and errors with anesthesia.
Other injuries can include but are not limited to:
- bone misalignment
- infection from poorly maintained surroundings or unchanged dressings
- failure to recommend a diagnostic or preventative procedure
- failure to perform a test or diagnostic procedure in a timely manner
- and failure to monitor the patient.
If any of these occurred to a patient, they should contact a highly skilled medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after the discovery of the malpractice to receive optimal representation and ensure the statute of limitations does not run out.
Payouts for Medical Malpractice Claims By Severity of Outcome
As stated in the Diederich Healthcare Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, nearly $4 billion ($3,925,073,250) was paid out for medical malpractice claims in a recent year. As classified by the severity of the outcome, this astronomical sum was paid out in the following proportions:
- Death – 30%
- Major permanent injury – 20%
- Significant permanent injury – 18%
- Quadriplegic, brain damage, and lifelong care injuries – 12%
- Minor permanent injury – 8%
- Major temporary injury – 7%
- Other – 5%
Medical Malpractice Payouts By Type of Malpractice
Diederich Healthcare also classified medical malpractice payouts during a recent year according to what type of malpractice was claimed by injured parties. In this classification, the $3,925,073,250 sum was allocated as follows per type of medical error:
- Diagnosis errors – 34%
- Surgical errors – 22%
- Treatment errors – 19%
- Obstetrics errors – 9%
- Medication errors – 5%
- Monitoring errors – 5%
- Other errors – 6%
Because it is not always detectable and oftentimes under-reported, the total number for medical malpractice cases in the United States varies. The Institute of Medicine puts the number from anywhere between 44,000 to 98,000 deaths and over one million injuries as attributable to medical malpractice, but the Journal of the American Medical Association says that number is much higher: up to 248,000 deaths are caused by direct medical malpractice each year. These numbers are alarmingly high and for good reason.
Patients are entrusting their lives to medical professionals and healthcare facilities, and have faith that these places will give top-quality medical care. When that fails to happen, it is jarring, and completely shakes the victim’s faith in the healthcare system. These errors can lead to unnecessary testing, multiple doctor’s office visits, and lasting injuries.
Having a qualified attorney will go a long way in helping a medical malpractice victim receive the deserved compensation.
What Must You Prove to Win a Medical Malpractice Claim?
We cannot necessarily hold doctors liable for a medical condition that worsens or an injury that fails to heal properly. However, we can hold them accountable for failing to perform at a certain level of proficiency and skill. When a medical professional fails to meet this standard of care and it causes injury to the patient, the provider can be sued for medical malpractice. Most medical malpractice claims are based on a theory of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that:
- The healthcare professional owed you a duty (doctor-patient relationship).
- The provider breached that duty by deviating from the applicable standard of care.
- A causal connection existed between the healthcare provider’s deviation from the standard of care and your injuries.
- You suffered injuries as a result.
Expert Witness Testimony
To prove that a medical professional was negligent, you must show that his or her conduct fell below the generally accepted standard of care. Testimony of another medical expert in the same area of medicine is required to establish what standard of care is commonly met by others recognized in the profession as being qualified and competent to practice. Testimony of the expert witness is needed to not only establish the standard of care but to also show that the healthcare provider you are suing failed to meet it.
Standard of Care
Every hospital and procedure must follow the standard of care. This is what an attorney will use when determining whether medical malpractice occurred. The standard of care is essentially what a reasonable physician or another licensed medical professional would do under the same circumstances.
Of course, those circumstances change from patient to patient and are dependent on numerous factors like age, previous medical history, current medical status, the procedure that needs to be done, and the specialty of the medical professional.
However, all medical professionals must offer their patients the legally recognized standard or care, or risk being held accountable for malpractice. Determining the standard of care, and whether a breach occurred, is complex.
Obtaining Medical Records
Under the law, patients are legally permitted to obtain copies of their medical records for any reason. Healthcare facilities and doctors are required by law to maintain their records for five years, but may often keep them longer than that, sometimes indefinitely.
An attorney can obtain them on behalf of their clients for their malpractice case.
Informed consent is a form a doctor may have a patient sign before a procedure or test is performed. This document states that the doctor has fully explained the procedure and its potential side effects and risks and that the patient fully understood those risks.
However, if the hospital did not meet the standard of care, it may still be possible to file a medical malpractice claim. An experienced malpractice attorney will be able to determine if a breach in the standard of care happened.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered medical malpractice at the hands of a doctor or other licensed medical professional, contact a skilled medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. They will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Carson and Smith Law Offices, LLC for your free consultation today.