Kansas City, Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical providers are expected to uphold a certain standard of care when they treat patients in a clinic, hospital, or other professional setting. These professionals are expected to act as a similarly trained, competent provider would under the same circumstances.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from this standard of care and hurts a patient. If you are injured or suffer from a worsening medical condition because of the actions of a medical professional, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against him or her.

Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Case

There are two categories of compensatory damages that you could claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The first category is economic damages, which involves financial losses such as the following:

Non-economic damages are the second category of compensation. These damages involve the pain and suffering that you experienced as a result of the professional’s negligence. Non-economic damages can be emotional in nature, like mental anguish and distress. They can also be physical, such as chronic pain and permanent disability.

It is important to note that Missouri sets caps or limits on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff could recover. The maximum amount changes annually and differs for patients with catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries. You can check the cap for the current year by visiting the Missouri Department of Insurance website.

Punitive Damages in Missouri Medical Malpractice Cases

In rare cases, you may be able to claim punitive damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not intended to reimburse you for any losses. Instead, they are meant to punish a negligent party for especially egregious and dangerous actions.

In Missouri, courts will award punitive damages as long as there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for others’ safety. There is no cap on the amount of punitive damages that you could claim.

Process for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

The medical malpractice litigation process involves a series of careful steps. Your attorney from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet will guide you through each of these steps and help you prepare for the next stage.

Step 1: Seek the Help of an Attorney

The first step to filing a medical malpractice claim is to contact a medical malpractice attorney from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet. Your attorney will help you determine whether you are eligible for litigation and start preparing your claim to be filed.

Your attorney may want to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing your claim. You will have a better understanding of the extent of your injuries and your damages when you reach this stage.

Step 2: Engage in Pre-Filing Negotiations

In some cases, your attorney will recommend that you negotiate a settlement with the defendant before going to court. Negotiating out of court can save significant time and help you recover a settlement faster, but it is not the best option for everyone.

If you are able to reach an agreement with the defendant, your case will settle at this stage. In the event that the negotiation is unsuccessful, your attorney will file your lawsuit in civil court.

Step 3: File an Affidavit of Merit

After your lawsuit is filed, you will need to provide the court with an affidavit of merit from a qualified health care professional within 90 days. This document is required to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri and essentially states that the at-fault medical provider deviated from the standard of care.

In Missouri, a legally qualified healthcare provider is one who is licensed to perform the same profession as the defendant. The provider must also be actively practicing or retired no less than five years ago. Your lawyer can connect you with a medical expert who can meet these requirements and submit an affidavit on your behalf.

Step 4: File Your Claim and Begin the Discovery Process

After your lawsuit is filed, you will enter the discovery process. Depending on the facts of your case, discovery can take between six months to one year or longer to be completed. During this process, you and the other party will exchange evidence. You will also take depositions from witnesses, the defendant, and relevant parties.

You or the defendant may also request a medical malpractice screening panel after the petition is filed. This panel is made up of three medical experts: one chosen by the plaintiff; one chosen by the defendant; and one chosen by both parties. Within 180 days, the panel will provide written recommendations on whether the standard of care was breached, which can be used at trial.

Step 5: Go to Trial

You may also negotiate with the at-fault medical provider at any time between filing your lawsuit and going to trial. If these negotiations are successful, your case will conclude, and you will receive a settlement.

If you choose not to negotiate or are unable to reach a settlement, your case will proceed to court. During your trial, the judge and jury will listen to evidence from both parties and determine whether you are eligible for compensation.

The court’s verdict will conclude your case. If you disagree with the decision, you have the option to file an appeal.

How Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You

A medical malpractice lawsuit can be very complicated. You will need to meet a number of complex requirements, and any errors could significantly delay or derail your case. An attorney from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can provide you with the resources, experience, and legal knowledge that you need to navigate your claim.

Our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers can help your case in several important ways:

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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:

You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Kansas City 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 in Kansas City, MO?

You’ll need to show a number of things to prove that malpractice was the direct or proximal cause of your injuries:

Hiring a Kansas City medical malpractice 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. 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.

How Long Do I Have To File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Kansas City?

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.

In addition to proving that an instance of malpractice occurred, your Kansas City med mal lawyer will have to argue for your right to compensatory damages. In Missouri courts, you can claim damages for several reasons.

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.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Certain actions commonly constitute medical malpractice. These common types of medical malpractice include:

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.

Medical Malpractice FAQ

Who Can Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Any medical provider who treats patients in a formal capacity could be liable for malpractice. These professionals may include physicians, nurses, surgeons, dentists, anesthesiologists, and medical assistants.

What Is the Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases?

The standard of care in medical malpractice claims is much higher than the average personal injury lawsuit. All healthcare providers must act in a competent manner. Their actions must not deviate from what a similarly trained and reasonable professional would do in the same situation.

How Much Is the Average Medical Malpractice Claim Worth?

The value of a medical malpractice claim will depend on the individual losses that you suffered. As a result, there is no average settlement that you could expect to receive.

There are factors that could lead to a larger settlement. For example, if you suffer from very severe injuries, you will likely receive a higher award than a person who suffers from minor injuries.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated and difficult to handle alone. In these situations, the legal knowledge and network of a lawyer can be very beneficial. Your lawyer can handle all matters related to your case and work to protect your interests during every stage of litigation.

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, MO 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.