When you go in for a medical procedure, you expect to come out in better condition than when you went in. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. While only about 1 percent of all hospital patients become victims of medical malpractice, those victims suffer tremendous pain and anguish.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you deserve to have a compassionate lawyer aggressively representing you, fighting to protect your rights while you focus on your recovery. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require the keen eye of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Let us handle the legal stress while you give your full attention to getting better.
6. Medical Procedures Resulting in Malpractice
Any medical procedure or hospital visit has the potential to result in malpractice. But some situations are more common than others. Those include:
- Wrong diagnosis – Doctors sometimes make a misdiagnosis or even fail to diagnose you. This means the actual condition causing you pain and suffering goes untreated, while doctors treat you for something you don’t have (or you receive no treatment at all). Receiving treatment for an ailment you don’t have is extremely dangerous and can make your condition much worse.
- Surgical error – Even small surgical errors can have enormous consequences for your health. It’s possible a doctor didn’t account for your pre-existing conditions, used the wrong medical equipment, or even left medical equipment inside your body. This leads to many medical issues.
- Anesthesia error – Anesthesia is important because it helps keep you pain free during a procedure. But using too much anesthesia can put you in grave danger and not using enough can make you feel the pain of the medical procedure.
- Infection – Whether at a hospital or a family doctor’s office, infections can spread quickly and be extremely dangerous. If a hospital stay left you struggling with a dangerous infection, your healthcare providers may face the blame.
- Medication error – Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs too quickly and don’t take into account any dangerous interactions with other medications you take. Sometimes, pharmacists provide the wrong dosage or even the incorrect medication to a patient. These errors can have grave consequences resulting in serious medical complications, even death. Over 200,000 people die annually from this type of medical malpractice.
- Medical professional fatigue – Doctors and nurses often work long, tiring shifts. This commonly results in sleep deprivation. If you were injured because a medical professional was too tired to be seeing you, your injuries should be covered by them.
These are tragic situations. You trusted someone to help you get better, and their actions only made your health condition worse. Those medical providers who harmed you should be held accountable for their wrongdoing.
While Nebraska ranks near the bottom of the United States national average for medical malpractice costs for practitioners, this doesn’t mean your injury should go without notice. If you were one of the few injured by a medical professional’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your pain, suffering, and added expenses.
Damages You May Recover
Medical malpractice has the potential to cause serious injuries. These injuries can be life-altering which could mean life long expenses. Victims of these injuries should never have to shoulder the costs of someone else’s wrongful actions. As Nebraska medical malpractice injury lawyers, we aggressively fight to get our clients compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home modification costs
Work with a medical malpractice lawyer in Nebraska you trust. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim involves complex factual issues and legal procedures. For example, you will need to calculate the future medical costs you can expect to incur because of your injuries, including everything from doctor visits to potential home modifications.
Calculating those future costs is not easy. Most people tend to underestimate how much they will need in the future. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who has represented clients with injuries similar to yours is the best way to come up with a strong estimate of your future financial needs.
Soon after your accident, you may hear from an insurance company representing the doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical professional who caused your injuries. The insurance adjuster may make you a quick settlement offer, hoping that the stress of dealing with an injury and of worrying amount mounting medical bills will spur you to take the money.
Do not fall for this trick. Quick, lowball settlement offers almost never pay you the full value of what you deserve as compensation for your medical malpractice injuries. They are a tactic used by insurance companies to avoid greater financial exposure later.
What’s worse, when you accept a lowball settlement offer, you waive your right to take legal action for more money in the future. This means that when you realize the settlement funds have run out and you still have lots of medical expenses, it’s too late.
We’ve seen many people end up in this tragic situation and we don’t want it to happen to you. Working with an experienced Nebraska medical malpractice attorney allows you the opportunity to maximize your settlement by leaving negotiation to a seasoned professional who will stand up to unscrupulous insurance companies.
While it is true that most medical malpractice claims settle out of court, only put your trust in a medical malpractice attorney with the experience and resources to take your case all the way to trial. The only way to keep an insurance company honest in settlement negotiations is for that company to believe your lawyer can go the distance, and win.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We trust medical professionals to take care of us when we are in pain and vulnerable. Unfortunately, sometimes these professionals don’t live up to their duty of care. Instead of healing, their actions may increase the suffering of their patients.
Below we answer some common questions about medical malpractice and how injured parties can recover compensation.
Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: All patients have the right to receive medical care that is equal to the care that would be provided by a reasonably prudent health care professional—otherwise known as the required standard of care. Nebraska uses the terms malpractice or professional negligence to discuss these claims and defines it as any instance where “a health care provider has failed to use the ordinary and reasonable care, skill, and knowledge ordinarily possessed and used under like circumstances by members of his profession engaged in a similar practice in his or in similar localities.”
The test used for the standard of care is a level of care that “health care providers, in the same community or in similar communities and engaged in the same or similar lines of work, would ordinarily exercise and devote to the benefit of their patients under like circumstances.”
If a healthcare professional does not meet this standard of care and the patient suffers an injury that would not have occurred if the standard of care was met, medical malpractice has occurred.
Q: What are examples of medical negligence that would be considered medical malpractice?
A: While any failure to meet a standard of care that results in an injury is medical malpractice, examples of common negligent actions include:
- Failure to diagnose a medical issue;
- Misdiagnosis of a medical issue;
- Unnecessary medical intervention including surgery;
- Surgical errors or operating on the wrong surgery site;
- Prescribing improper medication or dosage;
- Failing to understand or address the patient history; or
- Failure to order proper testing based on symptoms or condition
While the above list is not exhaustive, it is illustrative of the types of actions that could be medical malpractice.
Q: How common is medical malpractice?
A: While you may not think of medical malpractice as a primary cause of injury in the United States, it is an area that individuals should be aware of and concerned about. Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, falling behind only heart disease and cancer. This totals about 10 percent of deaths in the United States. Upwards of $3 billion are spent on medical malpractice payouts each year. Nebraska is ranked in the lower half of states for the number of medical malpractice claims and payouts.
Q: When can I recover damages for a medical malpractice injury?
A: To recover damages for medical malpractice, you must be able to demonstrate that the action of the healthcare provider fell below the appropriate standard of care. You must also be able to show that your injuries and other damages were a result of the negligent action of the provider.
Q: Are there limits on my ability to recover?
A: The Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act places limits on the amount of damages an individual can recover in a malpractice lawsuit. For any injury or death of a patient occurring after December 31, 2014, the maximum amount of recoverable damages for each occurrence is $2,250,000. An occurrence is defined by the law as any event, incident, or happening which proximately caused injuries or damages.
Q: What injuries are commonly suffered due to medical malpractice?
A: The injuries suffered due to medical malpractice can be wide-ranging, and depend on the type of error committed by the health care professional. Some common injuries include:
- Infections: If there are contamination or sterilization issues at a hospital or other medical facility, it can cause infection at an incision site or elsewhere in the body.
- Unnecessary incisions: If a patient is misidentified, they may suffer from an unnecessary incision, causing unnecessary pain and recovery time.
- Overdose and allergic reactions: If a patient is prescribed the wrong medication or an inappropriate dose, they may suffer an allergic reaction, overdose, or not receive enough medication to treat the condition.
- Deteriorating condition: If a health care professional misdiagnoses an issue or unnecessarily delays diagnosis, the patient is likely to suffer from worsening symptoms. The delay or misdiagnosis may make the problem much more difficult to handle when it is appropriately diagnosed.
- Birth injuries: Injuries to babies could occur due to improper treatment or diagnosis anytime throughout the pregnancy or the birth process and can include cerebral palsy and intracranial hemorrhage.
Q: What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in Nebraska?
A: A statute of limitations dictates the amount of time an individual has to bring a lawsuit and recover for damages. In Nebraska, the statute of limitations for bringing a medical malpractice claim is two years. Generally the clock will start running on the statute of limitations at the time the negligent act occurred. If, however, you can demonstrate that the cause of the action is not discovered and could not reasonably be discovered in that two year timeframe, you will be granted an additional year from the time of discovery (or when the relevant facts became available) to bring a suit.
Q: I believe I have suffered injuries due to medical malpractice. What should I do now?
A: Your first priority should be your health. Make sure that you have the medical support you need to manage your injuries and health conditions. Also be sure to document any instances of negligence you believe has occurred throughout your medical treatment. Be sure not to throw out any paperwork documenting your diagnoses, who was treating you, and the actions they took. This documentation will be important in establishing a case for medical malpractice.
While prioritizing your health and staying organized are important first steps, consider contacting a licensed attorney to evaluate your case. An attorney can help you understand Nebraska’s medical malpractice laws, evaluate the strength of your case, employ medical experts, prepare a damages claim, and ensure you take timely action.
Contact the Pahlke Law Group Today
We are a team of seasoned medical malpractice lawyers. We know how to investigate your medical malpractice claim, review medical records, take depositions, speak with witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court. And we do all of this at no cost to you. We only get paid if we recover money for you.
Contact us today online or by calling (308) 633-4444. We look forward to helping you get back to the life you love.
The Robert Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361