Medical Negligence/Malpractice Lawyer in Kansas City
Medical negligence or malpractice law provides a way to hold physicians accountable for the services they provide. These are considered special personal injury cases because they concern the responsibility of a physician to provide ethical and responsible treatment to patients. It is important that if you or a loved one are the victim of medical negligence or malpractice, you do not hesitate in contacting an experienced and successful Kansas City, MO medical malpractice lawyer right away.
Some of the reasons a physician might confront a medical malpractice claim include a failure to diagnose, medication errors, failure to warn a patient of side effects and risks of treatment, misreading x-rays, or performing medical services without patient consent. Errors during surgery or childbirth injuries are also reasons for medical malpractice suits. Doctors who aren’t particularly diligent in maintaining a level of caution and exercising a high standard of care may find themselves the object of a medical malpractice suit at some point in their careers.
If you believe that your treatment under the care of a physician has been negligent or wrongfully prescribed, contact us in Kansas City, Missouri, today. Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet is an experienced Kansas City medical negligence law firm who has a very successful track record handling medical malpractice suits and can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Proving Medical Malpractice
You’ll need to show a number of things to prove that malpractice was the direct or proximal cause of your injuries:
- A doctor had a professional relationship with the patient. You must have been treated under the doctor’s care, not advised by the doctor at a social event.
- The doctor was negligent or acted wrongfully. Dissatisfaction with treatment is not grounds for a malpractice suit. The doctor must have engaged in some act or recommendation that another doctor would not have reasonably recommended. A qualified attorney will be able to help you gather the evidence to prove discordance with a relevant standard of care.
- The injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence. This aspect can be difficult to prove because most patients are ill or injured at the time of the incident in question. A medical expert will often need to prove injury or harm due to a doctor’s negligence.
- Harm was indeed suffered by the patient. You will need to provide evidence of physical pain, surmounting medical bills, lost income and work, or mental instability or anguish as a result of the doctor’s misconduct.
Hiring an attorney who is well versed in the laws surrounding medical malpractice can provide you with peace of mind that your case is taken care of so that you can focus on getting well. A Kansas City medical malpractice attorney will help you gather evidence and secure a medical expert to prove a medical malpractice case in court.
Sometimes a case may be settled outside of court. Most physicians have medical malpractice insurance to cover cases that may arise. If both the plaintiff and defendant can agree on a settlement, a delayed court case may be unnecessary. Settling outside of court will allow the plaintiff to receive compensation more quickly and cut down on the fees and time associated with a case going to court.
Attorneys who work in the field of medical malpractice must be very particular when approaching these cases. The statute of limitations and presentations to medical review boards, and other requirements, must be followed to the letter. Failing to provide all of the required information at the appropriate times may result in a case dismissal.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Suits
Every state has a statute of limitations law that restricts the amount of time a person has to file a medical malpractice case with the civil court system. Statutes of limitations are in place to protect defendants. Halsbury’s Laws of England states, “A long-dormant claim has more cruelty than justice.” These time limits encourage plaintiffs to pursue valid claims within reasonable diligence, instead of waiting until the defendant has potentially lost evidence to disprove the claim.
In general, statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases are shorter than for other personal injury cases. Trying to file your case after the time limit has passed can result in the court refusing to hear the case. If the court agrees to hear the case, the defendant’s attorney can use your failure to file the claim in time as evidence against you – ultimately having your case thrown out. It’s important to see an attorney regarding your personal injury case as soon as possible after your injury.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in MO?
In Kansas City, MO, the statute of limitations to file most medical malpractice cases is two years after the date of injury. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Sometimes a plaintiff can have the statute extended, or “tolled.” If the underlying medical error that caused the injury was from the physician “introducing and leaving any foreign object in the body of a living person,” such as negligently leaving a surgical tool in the body cavity, the injured person has two years from the date he or she discovered the mistake.
Similarly, the plaintiff has two years from the date of discovery if a negligent failure to inform him or her (the patient) of the results of medical tests caused the injury. If the injured patient is less than 18 years old, he or she has until the age of 20 to bring a medical malpractice action, regardless of how many years this takes. In Missouri, there is a statute of repose that serves as an “overall” deadline, with no way to be equitably tolled. The statute of repose gives a plaintiff 10 years since the alleged mistake occurred to file a claim. After 10 years, plaintiffs lose their right to bring a claim against the defendant, even if they have a valid case.
Other Statutes of Limitations in MO
Statutes of limitations vary depending on the nature of the action. In Missouri, plaintiffs have five years from the date of injury to bring an action for personal injury. In most cases, the “clock” doesn’t start running until the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, his or her injuries. There are many types of cases in which plaintiffs have five years to file, including:
- Actions upon contracts
- Actions upon statute-created liabilities
- Actions for trespassing on real estate
- Actions for recovering stolen personal property
- Actions on the grounds of fraud
- City actions to collect delinquent taxes
A plaintiff only has two years to file a libel or slander case. The longest statute of limitations in Missouri, 10 years, applies to claims involving fraud, rent collection, some contract cases, judgments, and collections of debt on an account. There are also statutes of limitations in criminal court cases regarding the amount of time a prosecutor has to bring charges against a suspect.
Speak with a lawyer regarding the statute of limitations in your particular circumstances. Most personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys offer free case reviews, enabling you to speak with a lawyer at no cost and no obligation. Bringing an action as soon as possible after suffering an injury is important to the overall success of your case.
Common Damages Awarded
Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases may receive compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, loss of future earning potential, physical and mental suffering, medical expenses, and more. Your attorney will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve for your unique case of medical negligence.