Medical malpractice cases can be very intense as plaintiffs struggle with severe injuries. Not only are injuries severe and painful, but the damages are often significant, making for very high stakes.
Hospital negligence can leave patients with severe injuries and intense pain that lasts long after they leave the hospital. You should hire a lawyer and discuss your injuries as soon as possible. There are various types of negligence that you might sue for, depending on the nature of your injuries and treatment. It is also important to note that medical negligence does not necessarily include all possible medical mistakes or errors. This is another reason why it is important to hire a lawyer to help you. Some well-known examples of medical negligence for which you should hire an attorney are surgical errors, misdiagnoses, unnecessary treatments, birth injuries, and a failure to warn patients about risks or obtain consent for treatments. While injured plaintiffs are not required to hire attorneys, there are several good reasons why they should. Medical malpractice lawyers often have the skills, knowledge, and connections to experts to help your case significantly.
Schedule a free review of your injuries and claims with our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers by calling Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Should You Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Hospital Negligence?
One of the first decisions you make when taking legal action for medical negligence is whether to hire an attorney. Many people hesitate to work with attorneys because they assume the legal fees will be more than they can afford. In reality, many attorneys will work with you to figure out a payment system that works for you so you can get the legal help you need.
Types of Negligence
One reason you should hire an attorney is that there are numerous types of negligence you might experience while in a hospital or doctor’s office. You might need a specific type of attorney, depending on the nature of the negligence involved.
For example, suppose that while in the hospital, you slipped and fell on a wet floor that custodial workers recently mopped. While your injuries might have happened in the hospital, they are not due to medical negligence. Instead of a medical malpractice attorney, you would need a personal injury attorney. More specifically, you would need a personal injury lawyer familiar with premise liability claims. The hospital might still be negligent for your injuries, but not because of a doctor’s medical negligence.
Another example might involve a crash while you are transported to the hospital in an ambulance. If the ambulance driver is not at fault, and the other driver is responsible for the collision, you would need a car accident lawyer rather than a medical malpractice lawyer. Again, much like the previous example, the negligence is not medical in nature, even though it occurred in a medical setting.
If your loved one passed away in a hospital, and you believe the cause of death is medical malpractice, the situation becomes trickier. While you would certainly need a lawyer who can handle medical malpractice cases, you also have a wrongful death claim. As such, the attorney you hire would need experience with both kinds of claims, and they must understand how medical malpractice and wrongful death claims may overlap.
Medical negligence is unique compared to other forms of negligence because it can be very difficult to identify. First, the person who commits the act of negligence must be a medical professional providing you with medical care. If a doctor hit you with their car during your morning commute, you could not sue them for medical negligence.
Second, the treating physician must fail to meet the standard of care in your case. The standard of care may vary from case to case as it is often unique to certain patients and situations. Generally, the standard of care is the degree and type of treatment a reasonable and competent doctor would provide to a similar patient under similar circumstances.
To prove that your doctor failed to meet the standard of care in your case, our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys need medical experts to explain the standard of care and how the doctor failed to live up to their duties.
It is important to note that not all mistakes are considered medical negligence or malpractice. For example, if a doctor initially prescribes you an ineffective medication, and your condition worsens, it might not necessarily be negligence. If the doctor’s decisions in your treatment were reasonable and they believed they were doing what was truly the best course of action, there might be no malpractice.
Types of Injuries You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer For
Medical malpractice spans many different kinds of medical negligence and injuries. The field of medicine is a complicated science, and even small mistakes may lead to big consequences for patients. Below are some common forms of medical malpractice about which you should speak to a lawyer.
One prominent example of malpractice involves surgical errors. Surgery is risky even at the best times, and surgeons must be extremely careful when performing an operation. Surgeries have been known to go wrong in various ways, and patients may be catastrophically injured.
One example is when surgeons mistakenly leave foreign objects inside the patient’s body. There have been cases of patients being closed back up by surgeons with things like sponges and scalpels still inside their bodies. These objects may cause pain and serious medical complications. Additional surgery is necessary to remove them.
Plaintiffs have also been injured because of anesthesia errors during surgery. While most people know that anesthesia puts us to sleep and prevents us from feeling pain during surgery, it is a delicate process that must be closely monitored. If too much anesthesia is used, blood flow might be interrupted, and patients might experience oxygen deprivation. Patients have suffered severe brain injuries this way. Alternatively, an anesthetic might be improperly administered, and patients wake up during surgery.
Even if the surgery goes well, the results might be disastrous. Patients often have medical devices like stents, rods, or pacemakers implanted in their bodies. While the device might be implanted, the surgeon might do so negligently. For example, improper placement or defective devices might cause harm to the patient.
One of the most difficult parts of getting medical treatment for many patients is getting a correct diagnosis. Patients sometimes bounce from doctor to doctor before they finally get the right diagnosis and effective treatment. Sometimes, misdiagnosis is a reasonable mistake, especially if your condition mimics the symptoms of other conditions. In other cases, a misdiagnosis might constitute a failure to meet the standard of care.
This kind of situation becomes very serious when terminal illnesses are involved. For example, a person might go to their doctor and be mistakenly diagnosed with a concussion when they are really experiencing stroke symptoms. Because of the misdiagnosis, the patient might not get proper medical care to prevent their impending stroke.
A misdiagnosis might be considered medical negligence if a reasonable doctor in the same situation would have made the correct diagnosis.
Another form of medical negligence occurs when doctors provide patients with treatments they do not need. This is sometimes difficult to identify because many doctors and patients only realize a certain treatment or course of action was unnecessary in hindsight. At the time of the treatment, the doctor might have wholeheartedly believed they were providing the best care possible. If another reasonable doctor would have recommended the same treatment under the same circumstances, it might not be negligent or malpractice.
Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers can work to prove that the treatment was not only unnecessary but that the defendant should have known it was unnecessary by examining your medical records. Tests and imaging might indicate that the treatment was obviously not needed and should never have been performed.
Unnecessary treatments often put patients in painful or uncomfortable situations that should never have been put through. Additionally, doctors often do not provide adequate explanations for why they recommended the treatment. In fact, negligent doctors sometimes mislead their patients into believing the treatment is necessary. Such fraudulent concealment may affect when you can file your lawsuit if the statute of limitations is nearing expiration.
In especially tragic cases, the injured patient is a newborn baby who was hurt during delivery. Birth is very complicated and can be very dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.
Newborns are extremely fragile and are susceptible to trauma during delivery. The baby might be constricted within the birth canal and asphyxiate if delivery takes too long. The lack of oxygen may lead to brain damage and life-long conditions like cerebral palsy.
Newborns can also be damaged by the methods employed by doctors to remove them from the birth canal. For example, if the doctor misuses forceps to try and remove the baby, they might injure or even crush the newborn’s skull. While this kind of injury is less common, it still happens and is extremely dangerous. Many injured newborns live with severe brain damage and disabilities or do not survive.
Nerve damage is another possible birth injury. In some cases, doctors pull too hard when trying to deliver a baby, and they end up pulling the arm or shoulder and injuring nerves. Many babies grow up with muscle weakness or numbness and are affected long-term.
Failure to Warn or Obtain Informed Consent
One of the most important rules that doctors must abide by is that they always need a patient’s informed consent before administering any treatment, and they must warn the patient of any risks of treatment. If a patient is not properly advised of the risks, their consent to treatment may not be valid.
This is often a problem when doctors try to treat patients without their consent. For example, a surgeon performing a routine operation might notice a different medical condition needing surgical treatment. So, they decide to treat both conditions at the same time. However, they did not tell the patient about the second part of the operation. At that point, the surgeon may have committed malpractice because they did not get informed consent.
Why Hire a Medical Malpractice-Specific Lawyer Instead of a Generalized Personal Injury Attorney?
Malpractice cases are known for being very technically and scientifically complex and having high stakes. Damages tend to be quite considerable, and there are multiple reasons why you should hire a lawyer to help you recover those damages.
Connections to Experts
Medical malpractice attorneys often have connections with medical experts. Medical experts are a vital part of your case. It would be very difficult to come close to proving your claim without the help of medical experts.
The bulk of the evidence in your case will consist of your medical records and notes from the doctors who provided negligent care. This kind of information is highly technical, and most jurors do not have enough medical training or knowledge to fully understand. Medical experts are necessary to explain the information and offer opinions on how the negligence occurred.
Your attorney should know where and how to contact medical experts to help your case. It is not unusual for medical malpractice attorneys to keep lists of medical experts who can be contacted for help.
Knowledge of Evidence
A lawyer should also have a base of knowledge regarding evidence. Evidence can be unpredictable. In some cases, there is a plethora of evidence you can use to support your claims. In other cases, strong evidence is scarce, and putting up a strong case becomes difficult. Your attorney should know enough about evidence to quickly determine where to find the best evidence for your case. This includes tracking down medical records, witnesses, and notes from doctors and nurses.
Another important asset medical malpractice lawyers bring to the table is medical knowledge. Like most laypeople, the average lawyer probably does not know much about medicine or medical negligence. A medical malpractice attorney, however, should have the experience to identify medical negligence when they review your case. A good medical malpractice lawyer can listen to you describe your surgery and other treatments and know whether medical negligence is involved. They also better understand standards of care and how to establish them in court.
Call Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys About Your Claims Now
Schedule a free review of your injuries and claims with our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers by calling Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.