While we put faith in doctors and other medical professionals to help us get better when we are unwell, unfortunately, they can make mistakes that can be detrimental to our health.
According to a John Hopkins University study, roughly 250,000 Americans are injured or killed due to medical errors every year.
If you or your loved one suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s error, you should speak to a Riverside medical malpractice attorney at The JLF Firm. Our experienced injury lawyers will evaluate and litigate your medical malpractice case to help you get compensation for your injuries.
What is a Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or healthcare provider delivers substandard medical care to a patient or fails to provide the type and level of care a reasonably prudent, similarly-skilled and educated medical practitioner would provide in a similar situation.
While medical malpractice laws don’t require doctors and other medical professionals to be perfect, it expects them to exercise some level of care when treating patients.
Who May Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Generally, a medical malpractice claim can be filed against any healthcare provider, including:
- An individual medical professional
- A healthcare institution, a facility, or a corporation that provides medical services.
Individuals can be held liable for committing medical malpractice, such as these professions:
- Lab technicians
- Hospital staff
However, to make a medical malpractice case, the victim needs to prove the following four elements:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor’s or healthcare provider’s conduct was below the acceptable standards of care
- The doctor’s negligence caused the injuries
- The injuries resulted in damages
If you think you suffered injuries caused by a preventable medical error, contact an experienced Riverside medical malpractice attorney to discuss your claim.
Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice encompasses almost any situation where a healthcare provider’s violation of the standard of care harms a patient. However, the most common medical malpractice claim include:
- Misdiagnosis: When a medical practitioner fails to diagnose a condition early on, it can prove fatal for a patient. Similarly, a medical practitioner misdiagnosing a patient’s condition could result in the patient receiving unnecessary medications and treatments that could cause an injury or even death.
- Prescription drug errors: If a patient suffers an injury due to a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or hospital giving them the wrong medication, an improper dosage, or a dangerous or defective drug, the patient can take legal action against the healthcare professional or the hospital.
- Surgical errors: Some patients get injured by medical malpractice during surgery. Common surgical errors include a healthcare provider operating on the wrong patient or the wrong body part or leaving behind a surgical instrument in the patient’s body.
- Anesthesia injuries: Administering too little or too much or the wrong type of anesthesia can cause excruciating pain and, in some instances, be fatal.
- Birth injuries: The malfunctioning of medical equipment or a mistake by medical staff can cause a mother or their child a serious injury during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or the post-delivery period.
- Failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent: California law requires that patients be given the necessary information to make an educated and informed choice about what happens to their body. When a healthcare provider fails to fully inform a patient of the benefits, risks, likely outcomes, and alternative treatments pertaining to a given type of treatment — and a patient is injured as a result of that failure, the doctor or healthcare provider can be liable.
What Damages are Available to a Medical Malpractice Victim
The damages of a medical malpractice claim depend on the individual circumstances. However, they are generally categorized into economic and non-economic damages.
These damages are awarded to victims of medical malpractice as a direct result of calculable losses such as:
- Lost wages: This is the compensation for the duration you’ve been unable to work currently and in the future.
- Loss of earning capacity: If your injury or illness limits you from working in the future or forces you into a different line of work, you may receive loss of earning capacity compensation.
- Medical expenses: These are the costs of care and treatment related to the injury or illness caused by the malpractice
- Anticipated future medical costs: This is compensation for the expenses related to future medical care for the injury or illness you suffered.
These are subjective or non-calculable losses. They include:
- Pain and suffering: This is compensation for any pain and suffering you’ve endured, as well as the accompanying emotional trauma, such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: When you’re unable to enjoy the activities you were able to do before your medical malpractice injury, you may receive this form of compensation.
- Loss of consortium: A spouse can recover this compensation for loss of spousal benefits like intimate relations, affection, and companionship.
- Disfigurement or disability: If you’ve been disfigured or have become permanently disabled, you may receive compensation for your life being irreversibly changed.
California has a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, the amount of pain, harm, and suffering inflicted on a patient can easily surpass this figure. But this limit doesn’t apply to economic damages such as lost wages and medical expenses.
How a Riverside Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
Medical malpractice cases require experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of medical malpractice law and can convincingly argue your case to the jury if need be.
At the JLF Firm in California, our medical malpractice lawyers have experience handling medical malpractice cases. We can help you hold the person responsible for your injuries liable, as well as help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
We will help strengthen your case by:
- Investigating the medical facility in which your treatment took place
- Investigating all individuals involved in your care
- Reviewing your medical records and working with expert witnesses to assess the evidence surrounding your case.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
What does standard of care mean?
Standard of care is a legal term meaning the level of care and skill of an average healthcare provider or medical professional who practices in the same specialty based on the medical knowledge available to the physician in question. It’s based on what an average physician would do in a similar situation.
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in California?
In California, you are required to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within three years from the date of the injury, or up to one year after the injury is discovered or should have been reasonably found. If you file a medical malpractice claim after the statute of limitations has passed, the court could dismiss your claim, meaning you won’t receive damages for your injury.