Did a doctor's misdiagnosis cause you to suffer serious health problems? Did someone close to you die because of a mistake by the hospital? If so, you may be eligible to sue for medical malpractice. When a medical professional fails to provide standard care and harms you in the process, you deserve to seek compensation for your damages.
The Anniston medical malpractice lawyers at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers can explain your legal options after reviewing the specifics of your situation. We have handled many medical malpractice cases all over Alabama. We have a ton of experience and will leave no stone unturned until we can recover full compensation for your claim. You do not have to suffer because of a doctor's misdiagnosis or medical error!
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in Alabama, please contact us via our online form or call us at 256-666-6000 to discuss your claim. Let Anniston personal injury lawyers fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a term that lawyers often use to describe a situation where a medical practitioner or entity harms a patient through careless or negligent behavior. Basically, medical malpractice means a medical error harmed you or caused your injuries.
How Do You Know You Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?
To prove that your medical malpractice claim is legitimate, you must be able to prove all four of the elements of negligence. They include:
Doctor-Patient Relationship (Duty of care)
First, you must prove that there existed a doctor-patient relationship. You must show that there existed a physician-patient relationship between you and the doctor you are suing. If the doctor did not treat you directly or disagreed with being hired by you, you can't file a lawsuit against them unless you can prove otherwise.
The doctor or medical practitioner's action or inaction breaches a duty of care. Being unhappy with your results or treatment doesn't make the doctor culpable for medical malpractice. You must show that the doctor was negligent in connection with your treatment or diagnosis. To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that the medical practitioner harmed you in a way that a qualified medical professional, were they in the same situation, wouldn't have.
The action or inaction of the doctor/ medical practitioner directly caused the injury. The victim must prove that the physician's incompetence and negligence directly caused the harm. Usually, the victim must have a medical expert testify that the medical practitioner's negligence caused the injury.
The victim suffered actual harm or injury. The victim can't sue for medical malpractice if they did not suffer any specific damages, even if there is evidence that the doctor didn't provide standard care.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?
Several medical professionals and entities can be held liable for such claims. They include:
A doctor can be liable for medical malpractice if :
- He/she fails to diagnose a severe illness accurately;
- Neglects to order potentially life-saving tests for patients;
- Provides a misdiagnosis;
- Prescribes the wrong medication or fails to provide patients with adequate information regarding their condition and treatment.
Hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, medical practices, etc.
In some situations, the medical facility can be held liable in a medical malpractice case. For instance, when hazardous conditions caused harm or if the medical facility negligently hired unqualified or incompetent medical staff whose actions resulted in injuries.
A pharmaceutical manufacturer may be held responsible for medical malpractice when a drug harmed a patient and the manufacturer failed to notify doctors of the drug's potential dangers or side effects. Since a manufacturer's primary duty is to doctors, a manufacturer will not be liable for a patient's injuries, as long as it (the pharmaceutical company) adequately warned the medical practitioner of all risks a particular drug is associated with. The only duty a manufacturer owes the ultimate consumer is to ensure that their medication will be reasonably safe when used correctly.
Other Healthcare Professionals
Other health care professionals that can be held liable for medical malpractice include:
Surgeons: Surgeons can be liable for medical malpractice if they perform surgery in an unsafe or negligent manner. We've all heard gruesome stories of surgeons sewing medical supplies into patients during surgery or a surgeon operating on the wrong body part.
Nurses: Most of the day-to-day medical treatment tasks are performed by nurses, so they can also be held liable for medical malpractice. Maybe they misinterpreted the physician's instructions, failed to monitor a patient, or failed to maintain a safe environment causing serious harm to the patient.
Pharmacists: A pharmacist may be held liable in a medical malpractice claim for incorrectly filling a prescription and ends up causing injury to the affected patient. For example, a pharmacist could fill a prescription with the wrong medication or the correct medication but the wrong dose.
Radiologists: A radiologist can be held accountable for misinterpreting results communicated by the physician resulting in loss of valuable treatment time.
What Damages Can I Get From An Alabama Medical Malpractice Claim?
Victims of medical malpractice claims who can prove negligence in Alabama qualify for the following damages:
Economic Damages: These damages seek to compensate the patient for all the financial losses suffered due to their medical injuries or illnesses. Economic damages cover medical expenses like surgery, medication, doctor's visits, rehabilitation, etc. They also compensate you for lost wages, lost earning capacity, past and future medical costs.
Non-Economic Damages: As the name suggests, these damages cover all the non-financial losses like pain and suffering, lowered quality of life, disfigurement and impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress.
Punitive Damages: Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages do not compensate the victim for their injury. Instead, they seek to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. Alabama laws allow punitive damages to be granted tort action where there is sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant oppressed, defrauded, or acted maliciously toward the plaintiff consciously or deliberately.
What Is Alabama's Statute Of Limitations For Medical Malpractice Claims?
There are four elements you need to understand when it comes to how long you have to file an Alabama medical malpractice claim.
The Standard Deadline
Alabama's standard deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years. From the date of your injury, you have two years to file a claim or lose your right to compensation completely. However, there are exceptions. They are discovery, the statute of limitations for minors, and the statute of repose.
If a victim fails to realize that medical malpractice happened or that they have an injury, they have six months from the day they discovered the injury to file a claim. Victims can only qualify for this exception if they were not reasonably able to know that they had a medical malpractice claim within the standard statute of limitations of two years.
Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Medical Malpractice Claim Involving Minors
Alabama has a special time limit for medical malpractice cases involving minors below the age of four. If the victim of medical malpractice is a child under four years of age, the child has up until his/her eighth birthday to lodge a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Statute of Repose
The statute of repose requires all medical malpractice claims to be filed within four years of the malpractice. The statute of repose overrules the discovery rule, imposing an absolute deadline to all medical malpractice claims, regardless of when the victim made the discovery. The only exception to this statute is minors under the age of four.
Talk to an experienced Anniston medical malpractice lawyer to understand all deadlines that could apply to your claim.
How Can An Anniston Lawyer Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim?
It is crucial to have a credible lawyer by your side for any personal injury claims process. Below is a highlight of how an Anniston medical malpractice attorney can help with your claim:
Lawyers understand the investigation process since they have experience in the legal industry. With the help of relevant experts, your lawyer will investigate and paint a vivid picture of your life or that of your loved one before and after the injury. A lawyer will also analyze your medical records to determine whether there was any breach in care. Finally, they will gather all the case facts and compile documentary evidence and testimonies from witnesses and other involved parties.
After conducting investigations and establishing you have a strong case, an attorney will file a civil medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf and take of any other paperwork.
Attorneys know how to negotiate the best outcome possible. A medical malpractice lawyer has the right skillset to garner the best possible outcome from such crucial negotiations. They are well versed in the medical malpractice field, so they will help you arrive at an accurate figure in terms of compensation. They will collaborate with their network of financial experts to assign an economic value to your damages. They will advise you on whether a settlement offer is fair.
Representation In Court
Another way an Anniston medical malpractice attorney can help you with your claim is by representing you in court. If you don't settle and your case goes to trial, your lawyer will champion you in front of the judge and jury.
What Is The Cost Of Hiring An Anniston Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Medical malpractice attorneys at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers represent victims under a contingency fee arrangement. This arrangement allows the lawyer to be paid a certain percentage of the settlement or award once the case is settled. If the client receives nothing in settlement or losses after going to trial, the lawyer is not paid.
Contact Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers For a Free Case Review
If you believe a medical practitioner did not provide the right standard care and caused you harm, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney. You could be able to recover compensation for damages. At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we offer free, no-risk initial consultations. If we establish that you have a viable claim, we will fight for your compensation to the end.
Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers has represented injured patients in Anniston, AL, for many years. We can help you hold all responsible parties accountable and recover the full compensation you are owed. Call us at 256-666-6000 to schedule a meeting with our lawyers.