Medical malpractice cases are, by their nature, more complex than most standard negligence case. More medical malpractice cases go to trial than car accidents, or slip and fall cases. With that being said, the overwhelming majority of medical malpractice cases do settle. At our firm we prepare every medical malpractice case throughout litigation as if it is going to trial. The defendants need to know that we are ready and willing to try the case.
What Components Constitute a Viable Medical Malpractice Claim?
The elements of a valid medical malpractice case are, number one, a healthcare professional’s departure, or deviation from the standard of care acceptable in their community; number two, that deviation, or departure must be the cause of a serious injury. And finally, an expert in the same field will have to support the case and be willing to testify that the healthcare provider departed from the accepted practice, and that departure caused a specific injury, or death.
What are the Guidelines for Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case?
Hospitals and other facilities have specific policies, protocols, and procedures that all staff is required to follow. These policies, procedures, and protocols often make up the standard of care for which healthcare professionals are expected to follow. In other instances, each area of medical practice usually has its own guidelines, for instance the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology puts out best practices for doctors in that field. Many of these policies, procedures, and protocols are available online and through the discovery process once you have initiated a medical malpractice case. We use this information in addition to expert testimony in order to prove that the provider was negligent.
What Types of Damages may be Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case?
There are compensatory damages, which are where the injured party is compensated for their past pain and suffering, and any out of pocket expenses, including medical bills they have incurred. They can also be entitled to future pain, and suffering, or future medical costs, depending on the type of medical malpractice claim. There may be additional damages collected, including a loss of parental guidance if the client has died and left minor children. There are additional types of damages as well. One that we often see as the fear of impending death. If there is not a lot of time between the malpractice, and death, we can make a claim for those last minutes of the person’s life.
Are There Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards in New York?
New York does not have caps on any medical malpractice cases.
What Steps Should I Take if I Suspect That a Relative or Loved one has Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If I were aware that my doctor did something inappropriate, I would make sure that I go to a new doctor, and get the appropriate treatment. The next thing I would do is ask questions of all my treating healthcare professionals, and ask them what happened. I would also obtain copies of all my medical records as soon as possible.
After I have taken care of my own health, I would contact a medical malpractice attorney to investigate if the circumstances constitute medical malpractice.