Medical 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 victims 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 our personal injury lawyers 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.
Who is Liable in a Medical Malpractice Suit?
Medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence. Any health care provider can be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice is an act or omission by the health care professional that does not live up to the standard of care. You can file a medical malpractice claim against any medical professional. This includes:
- Physician assistants
You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against any health care professional who causes you harm while you are in a patient-provider relationship. If you believe that institutional reasons are responsible for your injuries, you may also file a medical practice claim against the hospital.
If you believe that any of the listed professionals caused you harm, speak to one of our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys now.
How Can You Prove 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 medical negligence attorney in Kansas City 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 a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer 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. We will help you gather evidence and secure a medical expert to prove a medical malpractice case in court.
There are times that 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.
The 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. 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 a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer regarding your case as soon as possible after your injury.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Kansas City for a Medical Malpractice Case?
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 of 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.
Kansas City Medical Malpractice Laws
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the state of Missouri, you will need to adhere to the state’s medical malpractice laws. As previously mentioned, you will need to make sure that your case falls within the statute of limitations.
You will have to hire an attorney experienced in Missouri medical malpractice law to file your complaint in civil court. An attorney can help you conduct an in-depth investigation and have access to resources you may not have on your own. Your Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer will have to file an affidavit of merit in civil court within 90 days of filing the initial complaint.
This affidavit of merit must include the following information.
- The written opinion of a legally qualified health care provider
- A statement that the provider found that the defendant failed to provide the standard of care that a prudent and careful medical professional would have given under similar circumstances
- A statement that the breach of care contributed to the injuries for which you are filing the claim
In addition to proving that an instance of malpractice occurred, your med mal attorney will have to argue for your right to compensatory damages. In Missouri courts, you can claim damages for several reasons.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Stress and anxiety
- Punitive damages for especially negligent or reckless behavior
Missouri sets certain caps for non-economic damages, which do not involve out-of-pocket loss. For standard medical malpractice cases, you can claim up to $400,000 in non-economic damages. For cases involving serious personal injury or wrongful death, you can claim up to $700,000 in non-economic damages. To learn more, contact Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet today.
Medical Malpractice Statistics You Need to Know
In 2016, Johns Hopkins Medicine found that medical errors are one of the top causes of death in America. The only things that beat it are heart disease and cancer. It was shocking to find that medical errors cause nearly double the number of deaths than accidents.
A study by Harvard University’s CRICO Strategies also found that communication failures led to several instances of medical malpractice across the country. While most medical professionals are highly trained and uphold their expected standard of care, some make serious mistakes that lead to severe injuries, worsening illnesses, and even death.
According to the analysis of more than 320,000 medical malpractice cases, CRICO Strategies found a substantial percentage of various types of cases resulting from communication failures.
- 38% of general medicine cases
- 34% of obstetrics cases
- 32% of nursing cases
- 26% of surgery cases
Suffolk University’s Civil Justice Resource Group provides additional statistics on medical malpractice in the United States.
- The minimum annual number of medical accident deaths in the United States is between 65,000 to 200,000 people per year. Often, final statistics exceed these numbers, as shown by the Johns Hopkins numbers.
- The minimum number of medical accident deaths that negligence causes per year can range between 25,000 and 120,000.
Causes of medical malpractice include improper diagnosis, missed diagnosis, improper prescriptions or treatments, surgical errors, and more. Misdiagnosis is one of the most common causes of medical malpractice, with an estimated 12 million Americans receiving the wrong diagnosis each year. However, you can only file a lawsuit for misdiagnosis if the error led to worsening condition or significant losses.
These statistics are a cause for concern. Millions of Americans visit doctors each year, and thousands emerge with severe, life-changing injuries. Thousands more do not survive their doctors’ visits but would have done so if they had only visited another professional. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you may have grounds to collect compensatory damages for your losses. Speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer to find out what your next steps should be.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Certain actions commonly constitute medical malpractice. These common types of medical malpractice include:
- This form of malpractice is one of the most common in American hospitals and clinics. Doctors may not diagnose a medical condition correctly. Proper testing, monitoring, and listening to patient concerns can provide an accurate diagnosis – but some medical professionals can ignore the signs, leading to worsening conditions and improper treatment.
- Failure to communicate. Medical professionals can fail to communicate aftercare procedures, side effects, potential allergy risks, and other vital information necessary for patient well-being during a doctor’s visit.
- Failure to obtain informed consent. If a medical professional does not obtain informed consent to perform a procedure or administer medication, the patient can sue the professional for malpractice. All medical professionals must obtain the consent of their patients prior to these treatments, or they commit an act of gross negligence.
- Performing the wrong procedure. Whether the wrong procedure is due to misdiagnosis, a lapse in judgment, or surgical error, the procedure can have adverse consequences on the patient. Performing the correct procedure is a fundamental function of health care jobs, and failure to do so is an act of negligence.
- Failure to take enough time. This can refer to discharging a patient early, not allowing for a treatment to completely finish, or not spending enough time monitoring or examining the patient. Failure to take enough time can lead to missed conditions, lack of necessary treatment, and undetected issues that lead to patient complications later.
- Failure to properly monitor. This act refers to the failure of monitoring a patient during his or her hospital stay. Courts commonly see failure to properly monitor birth injury cases, where doctors ignore the signs of fetal distress signaled by the baby’s heart rate and oxygen monitor. Without adequate oxygen, babies can develop severe brain damage and lifelong disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
Failure to warn a patient of risks. If a medical procedure, surgery, or medication has side effects that a patient should know about, the doctor must inform the patient. Failure to do so can lead to unintended consequences, further injury and illness, and accidental death
Contact a Kansas City Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
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 medical malpractice attorney in Kansas City will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve for your unique case of medical negligence. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.