Three Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

A 2016 analysis by Johns Hopkins University attributed more than 250,000 deaths a year to medical error in the United States, with hundreds of thousands more left injured.

Many of those who are left injured face a long road toward recovery. These victims face anything from minor injuries to significant health complications that can leave them incapacitated for the rest of their lives. Families across the country have suffered after their loved ones have been subjected to serious injuries or even death — all caused by negligence. To make matters worse, in Missouri, many of the laws surrounding medical malpractice favor physicians rather than the patients that they’ve harmed.

Gartner Law Firm has been helping clients successfully pursue medical malpractice claims in St. Peters and St. Charles, Missouri, and the surrounding communities for more than 25 years. We put our experience as personal injury attorneys to work to help seek compensation for both victims and their families.

Understanding
Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice in Missouri is defined as the rendering of or a failure to render healthcare services that result in the injury or death of a patient.

There is a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Missouri. This means that you must file a lawsuit against your healthcare provider within two years of the date of the injury or within two years of the date, you should have reasonably known about the injury. The state’s provision surrounding the date you should have “reasonably known” about the injury allows more time for patients whose injuries might not be immediately apparent. For example, if a doctor was negligent during a surgical procedure, you may not experience symptoms or complications from the surgery harm until days, weeks, or even months later.

Regardless of when you become aware of the injury, the state does mandate that you must file a claim within 10 years of the date of injury, whether it was immediately known or not.

What Are Some Common
Medical Malpractice Claims?

Healthcare providers owe a legal duty of care to all of their patients. That is, they must adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts or procedures that could foreseeably harm their patients. There are a number of different ways that they can breach that duty of care, but three of the most common causes for malpractice claims include:

  1. Misdiagnosing a medical issue or failing to diagnose an issue at all.
  2. Failing to provide the proper and necessary treatment to a patient based on a diagnosis.
  3. Committing errors during surgery, including removing incorrect limbs, leaving surgical items inside a patient, or allowing bleeding or infection.

Who Can Be Sued for
Medical Malpractice?

Generally speaking, most medical malpractice lawsuits target medical professionals. That includes (but is not limited to) doctors, nurses, dentists, and therapists. All of these individuals can be held liable for any negligent actions that resulted in injury or death in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Hospitals and clinics might also bear some level of liability, as they are responsible for the conduct of their employees and medical professionals who provide services inside their facilities.

If you choose to pursue legal action against a healthcare provider for breach of that duty, an Affidavit of Merit must accompany the initial petition for damages filed in civil court. In the affidavit, a qualified medical expert must state that he believes malpractice has been committed.

What Are the Basic
Elements of a Claim?

There are four basic elements required to pursue a claim of fault or liability against a healthcare provider. Those four elements are as follows:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship. The doctor was rendering treatment or care to a patient.
  2. The doctor was negligent. The doctor failed to adhere to their duty of care to the patient.
  3. That negligence led to an injury. The doctor’s failure to adhere to their duty of care resulted in injuries sustained by the patient.
  4. The injury caused damages. The injury or injuries suffered by the patient caused non-economic and economic damages.

In this claim, the patient must assert that the standard of care was breached by the healthcare provider and demonstrate that that breach of care caused harm to the patient.

What Kind of Damages
Can I Sue For?

Patients can sue for compensatory and non-economic damages. Compensatory damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses. Non-economic damages include less quantifiable losses like pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, and loss of future earning capacity.

Unfortunately, Missouri law caps the amount injured patients can recover for non-economic damages, even in the event of a loved one’s death.

How the Gartner Law Firm Can Help

Medical malpractice claims can often be complex and difficult to prove. You need an attorney with experience prosecuting medical malpractice claims, one who understands complicated medical issues, and one who has relationships with knowledgeable and respected medical experts who can attest to a defendant’s claim that the medical provider was in breach of their duty of care.

Gartner Law Firm has the experience and expertise you and your family need to represent you in a medical malpractice claim — just as we have for dozens of clients in St. Peters and St. Charles, Missouri for over 25 years. Don’t face this challenge on your own. Your consultation is free, so call now.

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