Elkins Medical Malpractice Lawyer
We trust our physicians and healthcare providers to help us return to maximum health, but in some cases, the opposite could happen. When you see a doctor or go to the hospital, many things have the potential to go wrong, from miscommunication to prescribing the wrong drug or treatment, if a medical professional does not take the proper precautions.
If you have suffered harm from a medical misdiagnosis, treatment, or a procedure, an Elkins medical malpractice lawyer could evaluate your case and advise the next step for pursuing compensation.
Medical errors could happen even before birth, and the results of malpractice at any time can lead to devastating injury or death. Our team of compassionate, experienced attorneys is here to help if you or a loved one has experienced harm because of medical error.
Causes of Medical Malpractice and Healthcare Professional Errors in Elkins
Medical malpractice is common and now the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. According to a 2016 Johns Hopkins study, more than 250,000 people die every year due to medical errors. This amounts to nearly ten percent of all deaths in the country annually.
Right from the outset of a healthcare encounter, a physician may fail to diagnose a significant disease like cancer, stroke, heart disease, infections, or internal bleeding. Missing a critical diagnosis, or finding it too late, could cause severe consequences for a patient. Malpractice may also occur in the operating room as well. For example, there have been cases where surgeons have operated on the wrong limb or left instruments or gauze inside a patient.
Healthcare providers from physicians to pharmacists could all make an egregious mistake. They may be exhausted, impaired, or otherwise unfit to do their jobs. Many malpractice instances happen due to poor medical team communication, and if hospitals are disorganized or inefficient, patients could suffer as a result. A legal advisor in Elkins can provide more information on the types of malpractice claims.
Statute of Limitations and Notice of Claim in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
With a few exceptions, a party injured by medical malpractice has two years to file a claim in court. However, at least 30 days before filing, West Virginia Code section 55-7B-6 mandates that the plaintiff sends a “notice of claim” to each health care provider involved. The notice must consist of a statement of the grounds for the lawsuit and the theory of responsibility. The notice must also include a “screening certificate of merit” written by an expert healthcare provider, stating that the defendant failed to meet the acceptable standard of care.
Elkins Medical Professionals and the Duty of Care Owed
Also, errors and mistakes happen routinely in healthcare. It is not considered medical malpractice unless the injured party can prove that another medical professional would have acted differently, under the same circumstances. The plaintiff must prove that the provider violated their standard of care, and a reasonable medical professional would have known better and made a different decision.
When a malpractice legal representative brings a claim to court in Elkins, the injured individual must first present evidence that there was a doctor-patient relationship and that the medical professional was negligent in providing the proper care. Then, through expert testimony, the plaintiff must show that a reasonable medical professional would have acted differently in that situation and the defendant’s error led to an injury or illness. Medical malpractice claims can be complex because of this, requiring expert reports and witnesses.
Once a plaintiff proves medical malpractice and a resulting injury or harm, they must then prove damages and demand an appropriate loss package for compensation. Non-economic damages are ones for pain and suffering or emotional distress. In the case of severe traumatic injuries or death, this cap is $500,000 for punitive damages, which are awarded to discourage the same conduct from others. There is no limit on economic damages, which include factors such as medical bills, lost wages, future expenses, and lost income.
Reach Out to an Elkins Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have suffered at the hands of a healthcare provider’s negligence, reach out to an Elkins medical malpractice lawyer for more information and legal support. Medical malpractice claims require diligence on every level, and our team of legal professionals is here to help you. We should be able to trust our healthcare providers to live up to their oath to “do no harm,” but when a mistake happens, we are here to help you find financial relief and hold the correct party accountable. Call today to learn more.