Visiting a medical professional can be an intimidating or scary experience, especially if you are undergoing some sort of invasive procedure. However, medical professionals are required to undergo extensive education before they are licensed to practice their profession, and with this license and range of certifications comes a level of trust that allows us to follow their expert advice. Even so, it is completely reasonable (and, in fact, strongly recommended) that you seek out a second opinion from another medical professional any time you are given significant medical advice or a major diagnosis. Doctors are humans, and make mistakes just like all other professionals; unfortunately, a doctor’s error can cause serious, lasting damages to their patients.
If you have worked with a medical professional and suffered injuries as a result of your care, then you may be the victim of medical malpractice and entitled to compensation for this mistake. A doctor has a legal duty of care towards their patients, which, simply put, requires that a medical professional act in a way that is prudent or “the average” of how other informed medical professionals would. This is intended to provide patients with the best chance of successful care but also is intended to reduce the risks of any unnecessary harm as a result.
Work With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer Now
Any type of injury can cause a significant impact on your daily life, but a medical error can be catastrophic. After this type of error, you will need to begin to make a range of decisions based on the situation so that you can get the appropriate care, whether that is corrective action, physical therapy, or other options. While you are focusing on recovering from this error, the last thing that you should be concerned about is the legal process that is now ahead of you as you seek compensation for this disaster.
When you hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in San Diego, you will be able to focus on your own needs without the additional worry and stress that comes with filing a personal injury claim and seeking personal injury compensation. The sooner you partner with a lawyer, the more opportunities they will have to handle the interactions with the insurance company, and therefore take every possible step to maximize your chances of a positive outcome.
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We understand that no matter how in-depth the information on a website may be, there is no replacement for speaking directly with an experienced professional who can help you make sense of your situation. This is why we offer a free case evaluation and initial consultation with prospective clients, where we will be able to answer specific questions that you have, provide you with insights and suggestions, and generally give you a better understanding of what to expect moving forward.
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
Determining whether or not you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice is the most important step to take once your medical needs have been addressed. The best way to be certain of your situation is to contact a San Diego medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer, but the following details can provide you with an idea of what key details you should be looking for.
Generally, medical malpractice is a situation where a medical professional or medical organization acts negligently or recklessly while caring for a patient, and this carelessness causes injury to the patient. Specifically, there are many different situations that can be considered medical malpractice depending on the type of medical professional implicated, the nature of the relationship between the professional and the patient, the action (or inaction) that caused an injury, and more.
Medical Standard of Care
The first step in identifying medical malpractice is to understand whether or not the medical professional had a legal standard of care that they were required to uphold. We will need to identify the level of care that would qualify as the “standard” degree of care, and identify whether or not the professional in question failed to meet this standard.
For example, a patient succumbing to terminal cancer after receiving standard care from their doctor is not an example of medical malpractice; however, a patient who succumbs to terminal cancer after being misdiagnosed, or after being treated with unapproved methods, may be the victim of medical malpractice. Health outcomes may or may not play a role in determining if medical malpractice had taken place, provided that the client received adequate care and treatment.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
As you can imagine from the general definition of medical malpractice, there are many different situations that would qualify someone to seek compensatory damages in a civil case. However, the following are just a few examples of common medical malpractice cases in San Diego:
Failure to Diagnose
When a patient goes to a doctor with some sort of illness or injury, they expect that the doctor will take the correct action in order to properly diagnose the issue so that they can then provide the necessary care. However, doctors may provide a patient with a misdiagnosis, or a complete failure to diagnose, which can lead to further injury and even death. This is why it is important to ALWAYS get a second opinion for significant prognoses, but it is no excuse for the medical professional’s failure to provide you with the proper care.
There are many different types of possible surgical errors. A minor mistake that leads to additional injuries, such as a larger incision or harm to areas other than the location of the procedure, may qualify a patient for a medical malpractice claim. Major mistakes, such as performing the wrong surgery entirely, is a significant error with significant legal repercussions. No matter your surgery error, it is important that you speak with an attorney if there has been any measurable impact on your life. You deserve to be compensated for these impacts, and by working with a San Diego malpractice lawyer, you will have the right support.
When a doctor recommends unnecessary or incorrect treatment for an illness, the treatment may cause harm or injury to the patient that could have been otherwise avoided had the doctor taken the appropriate steps. Unnecessary treatments can stem from failures to diagnose, but can just as easily be the results of misinformation, lapses in judgment, recklessness, or some other form of negligence. Regardless of why the patient received unnecessary treatment, we will need to prove that the doctor failed to uphold their standard of care, and is responsible for any injury that these treatments caused.
Taking the wrong prescription medication, or taking medication incorrectly, can have horrible outcomes, ranging from mild discomfort to permanent damage, and even death. Medical professionals are expected to know about all of the medications that their patients are currently taking when writing a new prescription because there are many known drug combinations that have reactions when taken together that can be extremely dangerous. These are only a few examples of why prescribing errors are so serious, and victims of these errors deserve to be compensated for the injuries that the error caused.
After a medical procedure, change to prescribing, or any other type of interaction between a medical professional and a patient, there will be necessary aftercare that the patient requires in order to maximize their recovery. In some cases, a patient may receive completely adequate care but does not get the appropriate care that they need during their recovery that can lead to infection, improper healing, and other serious and harmful outcomes that could have been avoided. Keep in mind that this is not the same as a patient disregarding aftercare guidelines, which is typically not the responsibility of the healthcare professional.
The anesthesiologist is an extremely important person in any medical building, simply because administering the right amount of anesthesia to a patient is extremely important, and highly specific to the individual. Mistakes such as improper dosage or failing to recognize a high-risk issue with a patient can cause serious injuries and may even be fatal, and even proper application requires constant supervision throughout the entire process. If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of this type of medical error, contact us now for your free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice in San Diego
The following are some important and frequently asked questions that we will be happy to go into detail about during our work together, starting with our initial consultation. Keep in mind that the following answers are not intended to be taken as legal advice, only to give you a general idea of how we will work to find the specific answers to your case. Contact us now to get started on your medical malpractice issues in San Diego today.
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California?
If you have been injured in a situation that qualifies as medical malpractice, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit with the California courts. However, if you did not immediately recognize the injuries that you suffered, then your statute of limitations may be adjusted to allow for one year after first discovering the injury to allow you an opportunity to take legal action.
Once the statute of limitations has expired, you will have little to no chance of having the courts accept your complaint, meaning that you will have very limited, if any, options to seek compensation. However, it is important that you act as quickly as possible so that this time can be used productively. If you wait until the last moment to take any action, your San Diego attorney will have much less time to calculate your damages and negotiate with the insurance company.
Is there a damage cap for medical malpractice in California?
Since passing the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) of 1975, California has had a damage cap of $250,000 for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. However, there is no damage cap for economic damages, meaning that you will be able to get the compensation that you deserve for any financial losses that you incur as a result of your medical malpractice injuries.
How much is my medical malpractice case worth?
In order to determine how much a medical malpractice case is worth in California, there are a few different things that we will need to explore that are specific to your case. First, we will need to consider all of the economic impacts that this accident has had on your life, including the resultant medical bills, as well as the impacts on your earning capacity, long-term working abilities, and more. There is no cap to these types of damages in a California medical malpractice case.
Once we have calculated your economic damages, we will turn to the non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, stress, anxiety, and loss of quality of life. These types of damages are capped to $250,000 in California under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, meaning that regardless of the extent of these damages, you will be unable to seek more than this amount.
Do I need a lawyer for a medical malpractice case?
As you can imagine, medical malpractice is a very serious claim, and the legal support that medical professionals retain to combat these claims is extremely aggressive. When you file a claim with a medical malpractice insurance company, they will immediately take action to try to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, and for as little as possible. As you are going up against this company to get the money that you rightfully deserve, you will additionally need to focus on recovering from the injuries that you sustained from the malpractice.
When you hire a lawyer, you can focus on your personal and professional needs without taking on the additional stress of a medical malpractice claim. We will be able to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company, manage all communications, and provide you with advice on how to handle any step of the process that you will need to do yourself (such as your an independent medical examination).
Contact Us Now To Work With a San Diego Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The sooner we begin working together, the more time we will have to build a strong case for negotiating a settlement that you truly deserve. We will be able to handle nearly every step of your claim process, at the same time that we are gathering information and documentation to determine the true amount of the damages that you are suffering, and therefore entitled to compensation for.
Contact us now for a free case evaluation and to work through an initial consultation in order to understand how we can best work together. Our history of experience and success is only one of the many reasons that Injury Trial Lawyers, APC is the right team for your case.