Whether it’s preventive or for a chronic or acute condition, you expect to receive the best and most up-to-date care possible when you seek medical care. You don’t expect your health to decline or deteriorate or that you will be fatally injured. Yet, this happens to people every day. Medical malpractice is a serious issue in America, impacting far too many innocent patients and their families.
When putting your or a family member’s health and life into the hands of medical professionals, you trust in their care and competence. You have every right to anticipate that they will use their medical knowledge, training, and experience to stabilize or improve a condition or illness or at least not cause further harm. You should also expect them to uphold their duty of care to you or your loved one.
Medical malpractice injuries can be severe and even life-changing. Those who suffer these injuries and their family members deserve compensation for their damages. Take the first step in getting the financial recovery you are entitled to receive by meeting with a compassionate Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice lawyer at Michigan Injury Lawyers today.
Why Choose Michigan Injury Lawyers?
Serious medical malpractice cases require serious legal representation. You will find that representation at Michigan Injury Lawyers. After helping injured individuals and their families seek compensation for over three decades, our firm knows the challenges that medical malpractice cases bring, and we are ready for them.
Each client we serve has unique needs, and we won’t treat you like just another number. You can count on us to take the time to understand and evaluate your medical malpractice claim thoroughly and to do whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Your medical team may have failed you, but we won’t. Contact our office today for a no-obligation case consultation with an experienced Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice attorney.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice arises from negligence and medical errors or mistakes account for 10 percent of deaths in the U.S. today. However, an action considered negligence in one medical profession isn’t necessarily negligence in another. For instance, a registered nurse doesn’t have a license to prescribe medications or perform surgeries, but a physician or surgeon does. However, if a physician prescribes the wrong medication or dose or a surgeon operates on the wrong side of the body, they are negligent.
Healthcare professionals are supposed to provide a standard of care consistent with the same type of care another healthcare professional will provide to a patient in a similar condition. When they don’t, and injuries result, there might be a viable claim for medical malpractice that you should discuss with a knowledgeable Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice lawyer.
The Legal Elements of Medical Malpractice
Proving medical malpractice can be quite a challenge, which is one reason why it’s imperative to have a Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice attorney from our firm on your side. We aren’t afraid to stand up to large medical corporations, insurance companies, or legal teams on behalf of our clients.
Medical malpractice claims generally involve establishing four elements of negligence or legal requirements:
- The existence of a legal duty on the part of the doctor or other healthcare provider to provide care or treatment to the patient
- A breach of this duty by a doctor or healthcare provider’s failure to follow the standards of care for the profession
- The breach of duty caused an injury to the patient
- The existence of damages resulting from the injury
Injured parties or their attorney must prove all four elements for a successful medical malpractice claim.
Proving Medical Malpractice
Most medical malpractice claims require testimony from a medical expert in the same specialty as the medical professional who caused your injuries. These experts help show how the professional who caused your injuries deviated from the accepted standard of care.
They may also testify to establish your injuries and how they have impacted your life. When you hire a qualified Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice attorney, they will have access to medical experts they can use to testify on your behalf.
Damages for Medical Malpractice
The final element in proving a medical malpractice case is damages. Damages are the financial representation of the losses, changes, and inconveniences the patient suffered due to their injuries. The purpose of filing a medical malpractice claim is to obtain compensation for these damages. Damages include both economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages are easy to calculate and usually include medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the injury. They are easy to analyze and prove based on bills, receipts, and wage statements or tax documents.
Non-economic damages represent intangible losses for the patient. As such, they are challenging to value and a common and significant contention between the patient who suffered them and the medical provider’s insurance company. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for the claim.
While they might have a difficult time arguing over economic damages that you can prove with medical bills, receipts, and wage statements, they can and will argue about non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Loss of a body part or bodily function
- Loss of consortium
Your Bloomfield Hills medical malpractice lawyer will help you determine and calculate your damages. They will know what your damages are worth and work tirelessly to get you a full and fair settlement for them.
Common Types of Michigan Medical Malpractice
Any nonconformity to accepted ethical and medical standards can result in medical malpractice. As such, medical malpractice can come in many forms, although some types of medical negligence claims occur more often than others.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
An incorrect or late diagnosis often leads to unnecessary treatments or a patient failing to receive timely treatment for the correct diagnosis.
A misdiagnosis can happen when a doctor doesn’t:
- Identify clinical signs and symptoms
- Order appropriate medical testing or pursue finding more information
- Refer the patient to a medical specialist as necessary
- Confer with other doctors or specialists
Other common mistakes that can delay the identification of an illness include:
- Mislabeled test or lab specimens and results
- Missing test results
- Errors when evaluating data or performing a test
A prompt and correct diagnosis can have life-or-death consequences. A healthcare professional who is reckless with diagnosing a patient should be held liable for the damages they cause.
Failure to Treat
Failure to treat breaches the standards of care that a medical professional accepts when assuming the care of their patients.
Examples of failure to treat include:
- Failing to order necessary medical tests
- Discharging a patient too early from the hospital
- Failing to provide follow-up care instructions
- Not considering a patient’s medical history when ordering medications or treatments
Sometimes a physician’s failure to treat is related to assuming the care of more patients than they can handle. Under some circumstances, their employer might also be responsible for forcing or letting them take on too many patients at one time.
Prescription Drug Errors
Every year, as many as 7,000 to 9,000 Americans die because of a medication error. Prescription drug errors can cause problems from a minor allergic reaction to causing a death. Doctors have a duty to ensure they keep patients safe when prescribing medication. Nurses and other medical staff must ensure they do the same when administering medications.
Prescription drug errors frequently include:
- Prescribing the wrong medicine for a patient’s medical condition or symptoms
- Prescribing the incorrect dosage— too much or too little medication
- Failing to recognize possible dangerous allergic reactions or drug interactions
- Failing to recognize the signs of abuse, addiction, or overdose
Hospitalized patients sometimes get the wrong medicine. If a negligent pharmacist incorrectly fills a drug prescription, they can be responsible for causing a patient harm. Likewise, a nurse who gives the wrong medication or wrong dose can also be held liable for the damages they cause.
Surgical or Procedural Errors
Whether having emergency or elective surgery, the operating room is full of many medical professionals who have a duty to protect patients from harm. The same also applies to an outpatient procedure, like a biopsy.
Common mistakes that can happen surrounding surgery include:
- Failing to adhere to other accepted medical standards before, during, and after performing a surgery
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Operating on the wrong part of the body—for instance, the right leg instead of the left leg
- Medical devices such as tools or sponges left inside the patient after surgery is complete
- Reactions to or problems with anesthesia
- Failure of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to correctly communicate vital patient information, such as a patient allergy, before or during surgery
Sadly, the harm that occurs before, during, or after childbirth sometimes has disastrous results. For some patients, the damage won’t ever be undone or will need several months or years to heal.
- Poor prenatal care
- An umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck or tied in knots
- Failure to recognize fetal distress
- Improper use of forceps or excessive force when delivering the baby
- Not performing a c-section when one should be
- Failing to inform a mother of prenatal health conditions before birth, such as a fetal diagnosis or a heart defect, or Down’s Syndrome
- Shaking, dropping, or mishandling a baby during or after birth
Bloomfield Hills Medical Malpractice FAQs
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are another type of monetary award that might apply in some medical malpractice cases, but they are much less common. In addition to compensating an injured victim for their losses, the court has the authority to assign punitive damages to deter and punish the at-fault party’s behavior.
The court only awards them when their behavior is especially shocking or results from willful misconduct, fraud, wantonness, or conscious indifference to consequences. For instance, they might apply to cases involving sexual abuse or drug or alcohol use by the medical professional.
What Are Damage Caps?
Damage caps are legal limits placed on the amount of damages medical malpractice claimants can request or receive within a civil claim. In Michigan, there are no caps for economic damages. However, the non-economic damages cap is adjusted for inflation each year.
However, suppose the injured party suffers from permanent paralysis (such as with a diagnosis of hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic) resulting from an injury to the brain or spinal cord or suffers permanent impaired cognitive capacity or permanent loss of (or damage to) a reproductive body part.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Michigan?
If you suffer an injury related to medical malpractice in Michigan, you generally have two years after your injury to file a lawsuit. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. However, the law considers that some medical malpractice victims don’t find out about their injuries immediately.
For example, if you had surgery and the surgeon forgot they left a sponge inside of you, you may not discover that fact for months. In these cases, you have six months from the discovery of the injury or from when you should have reasonably discovered the injury to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long to pursue an injury claim, you may not receive compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Seasoned Bloomfield Hills Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, it’s in your best interest to meet with a seasoned Bloomfield Hills personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at (313) 438-4357 or contact us online for your complimentary case consultation today.
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Bloomfield Hills Office Location
2525 S Telegraph Rd, Ste 100,
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302