If there are too many intervening events and causes between the defendant’s actions and your injury, this will not qualify as immediate. For example, a woman who sued her husband for causing the death of their son in a car wreck was not allowed to proceed with her claim of emotional damages because she was not physically present during the wreck, even though she arrived at the hospital immediately after and witnessed her son being brought in as they were trying to resuscitate him.
A good case in point is that of a Missouri teenager who went to the emergency room after a car accident. An infection was not diagnosed in time and led to permanent brain injury. The jury awarded the plaintiff close to 5 million dollars in damages. The young man now has permanent loss of motor skills and cognitive skills. The cost of his future medical expenses was a factor for the jury when deciding the award amount.
When considering whether or not you can sue a doctor for negligence, you must ensure you bring suit within the deadline set by law, called the statute of limitations. All civil claims and lawsuits must be filed within a certain period of time. In the case of Florida doctor negligence, a patient ordinarily must bring a claim or lawsuit within two years after the patient discovers—or should have discovered—the injury. At the very latest, you must file the lawsuit within four years from the date when the alleged malpractice took place.
As you read this, don't assume she passed because of her heart. The surgery was successful, as expected. It was the aftercare that killed her: Avoidable infections, overdose of heparin, lines becoming dislodged, a doctor collapsing her lung while removing a drain tube. It seemed endless but was only 95 days. One heart surgery with a 99.9 percent success rate and a week of recovery in the hospital turned into three heart surgeries, an exploratory abdominal surgery and seven hospital associated infections and 95 days later, her death. I wish there were a medical court (of sorts) that patients could go to without an attorney. They could file a complaint and sit in a room with the doctor, nurses, specialists and a panel of “judges” and plead their case. Ask their questions. No attorneys. No “specialists.” Just a place to get answers, and, if needed, monetary compensation. Personally, I just wanted answers.
Damages for pain and suffering, including mental anguish, date back to Roman delicts, which is equivalent to today's tort system. The basic Roman delicts were iniuria (injury to person) and damnum iniuria datum (damage to property, including slaves). Under iniuria, the wronged party had to show that the tortfeasor acted willfully and intentionally to recover damages. The action was based on the plaintiff's "sense of outrage" and not on actual economic loss. Therefore the plaintiff could be compensated for "pain or distress of mind or body" in addition to any pecuniary damages. Whereas iniuria required a showing of ill will, damnum iniuria datum only required a showing of negligence. Eventually, Roman law evolved into only compensating for pain and suffering where the tort was intentional and only providing pecuniary damages in the sole case of negligence.
VII. Negligence cannot be attributed to a doctor so long as he performs his duties with reasonable skill and competence. Merely because the doctor chooses one course of action in preference to the other one available, he would not be liable if the course of action chosen by him was acceptable to the medical profession. VIII. It would not be conducive to the efficiency of the medical profession if no Doctor could administer medicine without a halter round his neck.
In addition, the fact that you like your doctor doesn’t actually mean that he’s any good at what he does. It would be a mistake to let your doctor get away with malpractice if he is exercising a poor quality of care. Remember: the fact that he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he’s a competent physician. Don’t you want to receive compensation for your injury or the injury of a loved one and possibly keep him from injuring someone else?
(2) Negligence in the context of the medical profession necessarily calls for a treatment with a difference. To infer rashness or negligence on the part of a professional, in particular a doctor, additional considerations apply. A case of occupational negligence is different from one of professional negligence. A simple lack of care, an error of judgment or an accident, is not proof of negligence on the part of a medical professional. So long as a doctor follows a practice acceptable to the medical profession of that day, he cannot be held liable for negligence merely because a better alternative course or method of treatment was also available or simply because a more skilled doctor would not have chosen to follow or resort to that practice or procedure which the accused followed. When it comes to the failure of taking precautions, what has to be seen is whether those precautions were taken which the ordinary experience of men has found to be sufficient; a failure to use special or extraordinary precautions which might have prevented the particular happening cannot be the standard for judging the alleged negligence. So also, the standard of care, while assessing the practice as adopted, is judged in the light of knowledge available at the time of the incident, and not at the date of trial. Similarly, when the charge of negligence arises out of failure to use some particular equipment, the charge would fail if the equipment was not generally available at that particular time (that is, the time of the incident) at which it is suggested it should have been used.
If you do have cancer and the pain and suffering that you may experience is increased because of the late diagnosis or if your life expectancy is shortened because of the late diagnosis, you may have a viable claim for medical malpractice. But, you would have to prove that you are worse off now than you would have been even if you were diagnosed earlier.
Battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or has other unwelcome physical contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner. Battery may apply when patients are sexually or physically abused by their doctors. This can also occur when a doctor performs an incorrect surgery or medical treatment on the patient. Likewise, this can occur when a doctor does something to the patient without consent.
A patient bringing a failure to misdiagnose case must prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor failed to live up to the standard of care in diagnosing the patient's condition, and that the doctor's failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis actually and proximately caused an actual injury. Most often, failure to diagnose cases involve disputes related to the applicable standard of care and whether the doctor's failure to diagnose caused the plaintiff's injury.
There are many alternatives to litigation. Depending upon the jurisdiction you are in -- and whether there are caps on damages that may come into play in a formal trial -- you may wish to consider these options. Remember that in many cases alternative dispute resolution is simply part of the trial process and not the endgame. Your best first step might be discussing your options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
I know it's difficult to live with the "what ifs" of having cancer but in this case, if you do not yet know if you have the disease, you have to wait to see if you actually do have it. Then, you can contact a personal injury attorney in your area and they will help analyze your situation. You can contact as many personal injury attorneys as you want until you find one that will take your case.
Second, from a procedural standpoint, medical malpractice cases can be unique (and pretty complex) depending on the state where you live. You (and your attorney) will need a good understanding of the procedural requirements necessary before - or soon after - filing the lawsuit, including filing an affidavit of merit, complying with pre-lawsuit screening, and other special steps . An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be very familiar with these rules, and will know how to avoid pitfalls and delays so that your case stays on track.
The loser of a lawsuit has to pay some of the successful party’s legal fees. So patients who are already struggling financially because of a medical error may be reluctant to take on the financial risk, says Susan McIver, author of After the Error. “It’s a real David-and-Goliath situation … Plaintiffs risk losing their homes and life savings when going up against an organization with deep pockets filled to a significant extent by taxpayers’ money.”
The personality of the plaintiff, their witnesses and overall effect of the injuries which befell the victim plaintiff will play a powerful role in any damage award if damages are even awarded once liability issues are satisfied. The power and personality of the lawyer representing her or his client also may factor into a high money damage award case.
There are rare occasions where doctors or other medical service providers will admit they have made a mistake and will seek to come to some kind of settlement with an injured party. Tread lightly in these situations, as you may be trading a quick resolution for a substantially lower amount of compensation. However, in cases that are not particularly serious -- specifically, cases worth $20,000 or less -- you may find that settling directly with a doctor is possible.
A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing -- this means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For example, you can't sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a cocktail party. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Questions of whether or not the relationship exists most frequently arise where a consulting physician did not treat you directly.