Deon Irish, an advocate who specialises in medical malpractice and a guest speaker at the annual Hospital Association of South Africa Conference in September 2015, said factors that contributed to higher awards included the longer lifespans of patients, improved technology and a broader range of allied health professional skills designed to improve the quality of life of impaired patients.

When you’re faced with any kind of legal action, the decision to hire an attorney or go it alone and represent yourself is one that should be weighed very carefully. In particular, you might focus on two key questions: What is at stake? And how complex is the legal territory? Let’s look at both of those questions in the context of a medical malpractice case.
The study recommended reforming the system by increasing funding for legal services, so attorneys could be compensated for their time; making defendants who lose a case pay the plaintiff's attorney fees; or sending malpractice complaints to an administrative system with neutral adjudicators and medical experts so patients wouldn't need an attorney.
When suing a hospital or a doctor, you usually seek to recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. But you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Generally, a person can pursue a claim for pain and suffering when they are injured due to negligence and experience either pain or suffering, individually or combined.

But lawyers may have to invest $50,000 or more to pursue a case, and they usually only get paid if they win or settle. The payout is determined largely by economic damages—lost earnings, medical bills, and future costs caused by the injury.  Those who don't earn big paychecks—including children, the elderly, and stay-at-home-moms—are the least likely to find an attorney, studies show.


Did the change in lifestyle trigger disturbing depression or anxiety? If you have never experienced depression before, many describe it as feeling despondent, as if a black cloud were hanging over your head. Sometimes, if the injury is taking a long time to heal, you may feel hopeless, that you will never get better. Examine the differences in your lifestyle to determine the negative impact of your personal injury.
Many doctors are not employees of the hospital, and in general a hospital cannot be held vicariously liable for a non-employee's negligence. However, when a patient goes to the emergency room, the hospital cannot tell the patient what a doctor's employment status is. Therefore, hospitals may be held liable for an emergency room doctor's medical malpractice.
The first step is a letter of demand, a letter sent by your lawyer to the doctor or health facility concerned, setting out your claim and the period in which the accused should meet it. Thereafter, getting a case to court can take up to four years. Accurate case data and hospital notes have to be gathered; records relating to the patient’s prior medical history, treatment at the hands of the suspected transgressor, and any subsequent treatment must be obtained. Then, lay witnesses must be found, expert witnesses briefed and court dates agreed on. In addition, both the patient’s medical condition and prevailing medical treatments have to be researched.

I fear misdiagnosis cases a lot. This is particularly because of the statute of limitations and its unforgiving nature in situations like this. Whereas there are exceptions in the statute of limitations for continuing treatment of that condition (which once misdiagnosed, that isn’t the case anymore) and the foreign object discover rule, in misdiagnosis cases these exceptions don’t work. More importantly, if a doctor misdiagnoses the condition, that mistake might not manifest itself until after the statute of limitations expires! Meaning, the patient cannot sue!
Medical malpractice cases are generally sought by patients who have been harmed or injured due to poor medical treatment or mistaken diagnosis from a medical provider such as a doctor, nurse, technician, hospital or medical worker. Typically, the measure of whether a medical provider was “negligent,” or failed to provide proper care, turns on whether the patient would have received the same standard of care from another medical provider under similar circumstances.
Others may be responsible—if a doctor delegates work to someone else, the doctor may still be legally responsible for the work. If a doctor leaves a patient in the care of another doctor, both doctors may be responsible. If an inexperienced intern performs the duties of a doctor, the intern has to give the same medical care the doctor would give. But a doctor can rely on the employees of a medical facility and expect that they’ll meet the standard of care required in their jobs. So if a doctor leaves proper instructions with a nurse who doesn’t follow them, the nurse, not the doctor, may be responsible. Or both may be. If a person is harmed by the negligence of another healthcare professional, they can sue that professional. They can also file a complaint with the regulatory body for that profession. For example, the College of Registered Nurses of BC licenses nurses. The Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing Board licenses paramedics.
Deliver the demand letter to the professional in question. Either hand carry the demand letter to the professional's office or send it to him via United States mail, return receipt requested. You will need evidence to demonstrate that the demand letter was received by the professional or that you made your best efforts to deliver the letter to him.
This is medical negligence. The 1) the standard of care requires a surgeon, the surgical team, and the hospital, to not leave surgical instruments inside of a patient 2) the doctor fell below the standard of care, 3) and it made the man sick for a year 4) which caused him pain and suffering, to miss work, and to incur unnecessary medical expenses both in dealing with the mystery illness after the first surgery and again for the second surgery to remove the gauze.
Damages from pain and suffering are, therefore, subjective. There is no formula and certainly no standardized calculation for pain and suffering. It is the job of the jury (or the judge if there is no jury) to determine what is fair and reasonable, which they will often do based on their own life experiences. The jury will consider whether the plaintiff is credible and sympathetic. This subjectivity means that damages from pain and suffering can vary tremendously from case to case -- even if the underlying injury is the same.

If you or a loved one have suffered from the negligent infliction of emotional distress, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys about the merits of your case. Personal injury claims must be made within certain time periods of the injury or you lose the right to bring your claim, so time is of the essence in this area of law.
It should be noted that insurance companies are under no obligation to use the above methods when calculating pain and suffering. Many companies use complicated computer programs to decide how much should be offered for pain and suffering. These programs take into account all of the above factors and some others that most people wouldn’t think about.
You will first have to find out whether you have bladder cancer to see if you even have a case. If you do have cancer (and I hope that you do not) then you would need a medical expert to be willing to say that your doctor that was treating your for the UTI's failed to diagnose you as having cancer as soon as they should have diagnosed you. This is the hard part of proving this case.
I later said I wanted reimbursement for wages lost due to pain, & donor fees lost due to inability to donate since my arms were bruised & in pain, along w/ damages for pain & suffering as I was unable to perform household duties, or enjoy my daily workouts. They advised me it's co.'s policy that I turn over medical bills & they pay after the fact; that don't pay for bills directly, & they won't compensate me for anything else unless I do it this way.

"The really troubling thing about this case is that nothing could have been done to change the [baby's] condition," said Daniel Rovner, an attorney for Chester County Hospital, one of the defendants. "There was no treatment, nothing medically that could have been done. The bigger picture is that the plaintiff's bar is going to use this as an attempt to expand the law to explain emotional distress."

If you don't have a record of your physical symptoms that relate to your emotional distress, you may still have a case. It will be a lot tougher to prove that your issues are directly connected to the incident in question. Severe emotional distress like prolonged extreme social anxiety or paranoia may be enough to collect damages. [3] If you don't have proof of related physical symptoms, talk to a lawyer. You can ask if you have a case. [4]

I had the same issue after my daughter passed from medical harm. I did at one point have a signed contract with an attorney. He had a friend in the medical field that he felt could review her 2,500 pages of medical records. However, when his friend explained that because she was an infant who went in for heart surgery, you'd require two specialists to review my daughter’s chart and testify. I was told it would cost roughly $50,000 to $75,000 per specialist. This doesn't include normal costs for the attorney. It didn't take long for the attorney to send me a letter stating he couldn't help me. I added that letter to the other dozen all stating we had a good case, but the financial limits made it impossible for them to take it. It was business.

Successful lawsuits require proof that physicians failed to meet the “standard of care” other reasonable doctors would have and that the failure caused injury.That’s hard, Knutsen says, especially since it’s easier for doctors to find — and pay for — physician experts.“What was the cause of this person’s misfortune? Could it be the cardiac arrest or disease they showed up at the hospital with? Was it a pre-existing condition? Was it someone else’s fault?” he asks.
Patrick Malone, a Washington, D.C., attorney who has represented patients in medical malpractice lawsuits since 1985, said he triages cases to focus on those that resulted in permanent harm. That's necessary, he said, because of the time and emotional investment the patient will need to make to bring the case to trial, and because of his investment in the case.
Doctor and hospitals are liable to any patient where there is medical misdiagnosis caused by the negligence of the doctor. Most malpractice lawsuits in the US are as a result of medical misdiagnosis due to the doctor failing below the required standard as he was negligent. Misdiagnosis is more common in outpatient facilities as the government and private sector efforts have focused on inpatient safety. A person suing for misdiagnosis requires opinion from other doctors about the standard procedure which a doctor failed to do before diagnosing a patient. A considerable sum is generally recoverable because of the lasting effects misdiagnosis might have on the patient.
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The Florida Supreme Court has explained what plaintiffs must prove in order to recover emotional distress damages. The simplest way to prove emotional distress is with a physical impact that results in a physical injury, like a car accident. It’s not hard to prove that emotional trauma often accompanies physical trauma. However, a plaintiff may also demonstrate emotional distress by proving that he or she:

It isn’t surprising that you like your doctor. Otherwise, why else would you keep going back to him year after year? But so what? Liking your doctor shouldn’t keep you from suing him if he has caused you emotional and/or physical harm. Think about it – the legal system is around for a reason. It’s there to provide people with a way to receive compensation from someone who has harmed.

Despite that fact that the Constitution promises you the right to health care, no one has successfully sued the State for the non-delivery or lack of health care. Several test cases have concluded that, despite the Constitution and the Patients’ Rights Charter, the government has no absolute obligation to provide access to health care. Instead, the government is required to “progressively realise its obligations” to its citizens. In practical terms, this means, for example, that a patient who needs dialysis and cannot be treated because of a lack of facilities cannot sue the State.
A patient trying to prove misdiagnosis must show that a doctor in the same or similar specialty would not have misdiagnosed the illness or injury. The plaintiff will have to show that the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on the list and that a competent doctor would have included it. Alternatively, the plaintiff must show that the doctor listed the correct diagnosis but did not perform the right tests to arrive at the correct diagnosis by the end of the differential diagnosis method.
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“A significant problem with the court process, as it stands, is the determination of life expectancy (especially with babies), which is fraught with difficulties. Parents may receive too much or too little compensation; causing strain for the system or unnecessary financial duress for parents. Medical expense awards are also estimated at private-patient rates (as much as 50 percent higher than medical scheme rates) – unnecessarily so, as most patients have medical scheme membership, with an already agreed, reasonable tariff,” Kellerman says.

Some damages that might come under this category would be: aches, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression or scarring. When filing a lawsuit as a result of an injury, it is common for someone to seek money both in compensation for actual money that is lost and for the pain and stress associated with virtually any injury. In a suit, pain and suffering is part of the "general damages" section of the claimant's claim, or, alternatively, it is an element of "compensatory" non-economic damages that allows recovery for the mental anguish and/or physical pain endured by the claimant as a result of injury for which the plaintiff seeks redress.


Doctor and hospitals are liable to any patient where there is medical misdiagnosis caused by the negligence of the doctor. Most malpractice lawsuits in the US are as a result of medical misdiagnosis due to the doctor failing below the required standard as he was negligent. Misdiagnosis is more common in outpatient facilities as the government and private sector efforts have focused on inpatient safety. A person suing for misdiagnosis requires opinion from other doctors about the standard procedure which a doctor failed to do before diagnosing a patient. A considerable sum is generally recoverable because of the lasting effects misdiagnosis might have on the patient.


My Dad was an elderly, and he was killed by the misuse of an off-label medication that was contraindicative for his medical conditions. The harm was totally preventable. After Dad’s death, we talked to 20+ attorneys. 99 percent of them said there was malpractice and the doctor was negligent. But because of my Dad’s age and the lack of future earning, no attorney was willing to take my Dad’s case on contingency.
Even though current compensation awards take longer lifespans into account, there could still be a mismatch between the assumed lifespan and the actual lifespan of the patient. An arbitration agreement that contracts medical providers to cover the cost of health care for the actual lifetime of the patient removes this risk, Kellerman says, and it would provide the greatest benefit. Waiting for five to eight years for a court resolution is avoided, and there is no erosion of compensation by contingency fees (up to 25 percent), as the costs of the mediation are usually prescribed by fixed tariffs. The process does not place an emotional or financial burden on the injured party, and resolution, if done proactively from the outset, could take less than two years.
Unfortunately, patients can die as a result of these “adverse events.” If your loved one is one of the 98,000 patients who die annually as a result of medical malpractice, then you still have to take steps. First, you should contact the local medical examiner to set up a forensic autopsy. Sometimes, they will do this on their own as there are specific local laws that may require such an autopsy. If they do not, however, you may have to pay for the autopsy yourself with an independent pathologist. Regardless, it is a good idea to have such a procedure performed along with accompanying toxicology tests to determine the cause of death and uncover any evidence of possible wrongdoing or malpractice.
In order to prove that the defendant's conduct was extreme and outrageous, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's behavior was unacceptable and uncivilized behavior that a reasonable person in the plaintiff's position would believe the conduct was extreme and outrageous. Plaintiff's sensitivity is irrelevant since the standard is viewed objectively.
In the civil law arena, one of the most complex and challenging types of claims is a case involving malpractice. Attorneys that represent clients in malpractice cases tend to be specialists with a significant amount of experience. With that said, perhaps you made the decision to pursue a malpractice claim with no lawyer. If that is the case, you must understand the basics of how to process a malpractice claim without legal assistance.
The standard of care—this varies with the level of specialty of the doctor—the standard may be higher for specialists. And it varies with time—today’s standard may not be good enough next year. You can’t always expect the best care available at the most sophisticated research hospital. The standard of care may be affected by the level of hospital that treats you.

If a doctor fails to make an accurate and timely diagnosis of a harmful medical condition, patients may pursue a legal remedy by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. One key question in these kinds of cases is whether the doctor breached the applicable "medical standard of care" under the circumstances. In other words, would a similarly-trained doctor in the same medical community have spotted the health problem (or identified it within a shorter period of time)? In the sections that follow, we’ll discuss some common misdiagnosis scenarios, and illustrate how a medical malpractice case might proceed. 
The incident that caused the stress must have been due to extreme or outrageous negligence and that the actions caused you emotional harm. For example, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in which a family member was killed, you may be able to file a claim for emotional distress due to the negligence of the driver in getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.
About three-quarters of mediations result in a satisfactory outcome, often within a day, but mediation is not legally binding until a written agreement is signed and the case can proceed to court. The NHS Litigation Authority launched a mediation service in 2014 for cases that have reached the compensation stage (contact the trust involved directly for more information). The Tutu Foundation also offers a mediation service (tutufoundationuk.org, tel 01865 514830).
As to whether or not the plaintiff’s injury is a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct, North Carolina courts ask whether a “reasonably” cautious person might have foreseen that severe emotional distress would result to the plaintiff. What qualifies as “reasonable” and “negligent” depends on the situation; for example, medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care when treating patients.

We offer a completely free, no obligation Medical Negligence Claim Assessment. We understand that suing your GP may not be an easy decision so we are here to help and advise you. We will take the time to listen to your complaint, and then explain whether you can sue a doctor, how long it might take, how you can fund the claim and how much compensation you might receive.
In the context of the doctor-patient relationship, proving the necessary elements of an emotional distress claim can be difficult. Plaintiffs may need medical evidence, from psychologists or orthopedists, of emotional or physical injuries -- the more intense the mental anguish and the longer the suffering, the more likely you'll be able to prove emotional distress. And the more extreme or outrageous the underlying conduct, the more likely you'll be able to link your distress to that conduct.
Proving medical negligence in these cases is inherently difficult and technical work. Furthermore, juries tend to favor the doctor in medical malpractice trials, making winning a lawsuit – or even a settlement -- against a doctor tricky. This is why these types of personal injury cases are often referred to lawyers whose regular caseload includes a good portion of medical malpractice cases. You’ll need an experienced attorney to successfully sue a doctor.
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