Misdiagnosis in a hospital emergency room can be caused by the pressure and reduced time available to look into various differential diagnoses. Unusual illnesses or illnesses that are distinctive to a particular population are more likely to be missed. For example, a homeless person who comes to the emergency room asking for pain medication may be taken less seriously than an ordinary person who comes in wearing clean clothes and complaining of stomach pains. This may result in a missed diagnosis of appendicitis regarding the homeless person.
Expert witnesses, copies of medical records, deposition and witness fees, medical exams -- all of these things cost money. And if you lose your case, you could very well be on the hook for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in expenses - depending on your legal fee agreement. Is your case important enough to you that you feel the potential financial benefit outweighs the risk?

The manner in which medical malpractice is addressed in countries around the world varies widely. For example, many countries do not permit jury trials. In these locations, judges or administrators may make the final decision. Moreover, malpractice awards, even when they are given, are often much lower than amounts received in the United States, giving rise to the argument that injured patients may not be fully compensated for their losses in overseas jurisdictions. Plus, there are logistical difficulties. A foreign lawsuit necessitates retention of a foreign attorney and physical presence in the foreign country for legal proceedings. Importantly, many foreign countries do not permit attorneys to take cases on a contingency fee basis.


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In addition to notifying a health care provider that you intend to file a lawsuit, prior to filing suit in most jurisdictions, the injured patient must usually submit an affidavit or certificate from a qualified expert. This affidavit or certificate is usually completed by another doctor who can testify that there are reasonable grounds to determine that medical negligence or medical malpractice took place in a given case. Again, the exact requirements of the certificate vary from state to state and across jurisdictions.
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. 
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.
No. Someone leaving you does not meet the requirements for an emotional distress claim. Relationships ending - marriages included - are a normal part of life, distressing as it may be, and everyone has the right to leave a relationship they don't want to be in anymore, and no one has the right to keep someone in a relationship by force (in fact, it's the latter situation where one could potentially have a real claim for emotional distress charges, especially if there was abuse).
To best gauge the pain and suffering you have experienced from your accident claim, keep a daily pain log and list the problems described above; this will help accurately describe your discomfort and maximize your injury settlement. For example, if you received injections, physical therapy, or had surgery, consider the enjoyment in your life before the accident, and then measure the toll on your life from stress and problems related to your injury and treatment.
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.

Finding a qualified medical malpractice attorney can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your injuries and walking away empty-handed. An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action moving forward. Begin by using FindLaw's attorney directory to contact a medical malpractice attorney today.


Incidentally, under South African common law, there is the crime of "Crimen injuria", 'defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another."[1] Although difficult to precisely define, the crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road rage,[2] stalking,[1] racially offensive language,[3] emotional or psychological abuse[4] and sexual offences against children.[5' (from Wikipedia).

Significantly, your attorney can only use these examples of loss to illustrate your injuries if you provide it to him or her. If your case is in litigation you will most likely sit for a deposition (your testimony given under oath before a court reporter who is taking down questions directed to you by the defense attorney and your responses). In preparing for your deposition, your attorney may ask you to explain how this accident has affected your life. Be ready to give real life examples so that your attorney can best advocate on your behalf.
Another reason that misdiagnosis happens is a faulty lab result or test. Errors in test results can happen because of flawed equipment or human error. In some cases, a technician who administers the test inappropriately, or a secondary doctor who misreads a scan, resulting in a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis, can be held liable. If the hospital staff makes a mistake, the hospital can be held directly liable.

However, the increasing inefficiency of the HPCSA has ensured that this is no longer the preferred route for potential litigants. The grave state of the organisation is now official; a task team appointed by the Minister of Health reported its findings in November 2015, describing the HPCSA as suffering from “multi-system organisational dysfunction”.

Many medical malpractice cases involve significant harm to the patient, the need for a long-term course of (very expensive) health care, and even the prospect of lifelong disability. Add that to the fact that you’re going to need to hire a qualified medical expert witness (an expensive but necessary step), and it’s easy to see how losing the case could be devastating.
A recent example of a plaintiff receiving compensation for emotional damage happened in Virginia. A patient going in for a colonoscopy chose to use his cellphone to record his examination so that he could capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure. When he went home and listened to the recording, he found that as soon as he was under anesthesia, his entire surgical team began cruelly mocked and insulted him. The man sued for medical malpractice and defamation and after a 3 day trial was awarded $500,000 in damages.
If the medical incident that injured you occurred at a hospital, such as with a botched surgery or a post-operative infection, then you must inform the hospital as well. This will launch an internal investigation into the incident. When you contact the hospital, you should also inform them that you want to be included in the investigation. They should contact you about providing your side of the story on the record. This can also help with later litigation as the hospital may uncover evidence during this investigation.
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.

A case can be opened only if the alleged malpractice happened less than three years previously. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. If the injured party was under 18 at the time of the incident and his or her parents failed to seek compensation on behalf of the child, on turning 18, the child has one year to seek compensation on his or her own account. An injured party suffering from a mental illness has three years to make a claim on recovery from this illness. Exceptions might also be made if the injured party was compelled to be outside South Africa during the three-year intervening period.
It is not easy to get a full picture of the increase in medical malpractice cases in South Africa, as there is no central register. Cases can be settled in court, out of court or via mediation. If matters are settled out of court or via mediation, there is no public record of compensation. However, if all sources of information are collated, it would certainly appear that both the number and levels of claims are increasing, and this is affecting the overall cost of health care in the country, including what you pay for medical scheme cover.

You withheld information from the doctor or gave misleading information to the doctor which might have aided or hindered the doctor’s ability to diagnose the problem. For example, if you tell the doctor that you don’t smoke even though you do, than the doctor may not be able to properly diagnose that you have developed lung cancer or other respiratory illnesses.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a doctor, you should also contact an attorney. However, you must realize that they may not take your case. The standard of proof for medical malpractice is much higher than most people realize. It is not possible to file a lawsuit over just anything and expect a multi-million dollar payout. But you should talk to an experienced malpractice attorney to see what they can do with your case and also to see if they can help you with dealing with the doctors or hospitals after the incident.
In Florida, when someone is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence the Florida law provides that the injured party can ask a jury to compensate them for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those damages that are readily calculable—medical bills, lost wages, or anything with a set dollar amount. Economic damages are typically easily presentable to a jury. Jurors understand hard and fast numbers, like medical bills and lost wages, and are oftentimes readily willing to compensate an injury victim for these types of losses.
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.
After meeting the notice requirements and other prerequisites, depending upon the jurisdiction an injured patient may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor. In order to prove the doctor negligent and that he or she committed malpractice, the accident victim must first be able to show that the doctor breached the duty of care owed to the patient.

If a personal injury claim was always as simple as only having special damages, things would be more clear cut. However, a personal injury claim almost never ends at special damages. Oftentimes, an injured person also suffers non-monetary damages that one cannot easily place a price on. This is the problem with pain and suffering claims, and thus the need for a way to calculate a number that is fair for the insurance company and the injured victim and family.
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Thank you. I'm not interesting in merely being compensated for medical bills. It's frustrating that I can be injured due to this company's negligence, miss out on earnings & the ability to live life normally, although for a short period of time, I still suffered, and they can be absolved of those damages and only be responsible for medical bills. In that case, what's the point of obtaining medical debt, if medical debt is the only thing that will be reimbursed, I'm no better off than just time wasted having a doctor tell me what I already know. Oh well, guess this company will get away with negligence.

An award for pain and suffering is not obtainable unless your injuries reach at least 15% of a most extreme case.  There is, however, no set way of measuring what 15% of a most extreme case looks like so every injured person must be individually assessed by the Judge and a percentage decided.  The maximum award for pain and suffering is about $612,500.00 and is indexed each year to keep pace with inflation.


Pain and suffering is a term used to define the physical and mental suffering that a plaintiff endures as a result of an injury. It is a component of the plaintiff's damages. So, in a medical malpractice case, the defendant health care provider can be liable for the harmed patient's pain and suffering, in additional to other damages like the cost of medical treatment and lost income.
In making its decision, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania cited several similar cases from other states, including New Jersey, New York, Texas and Wyoming. Courts in other states probably will use the Toney case to support their decisions in comparable cases, said Anna Laakmann, a law professor at Penn State Dickinson School of Law in Pennsylvania.
When most people think about medical malpractice lawsuits, they imagine that the plaintiff is suing to recoup medical bill costs, lost wages, and economic damages but do not think about emotional distress. While the law has historically limited the ability of plaintiffs to receive compensation for emotional distress, settlements for this type of case have become more commonplace in recent years. It is most common for physical damage to also occur in these cases but this is not always necessary.
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.

These factors all have to do with human nature. If you don’t like somebody, why would you help that person? Jurors feel the same way. If jurors don’t like someone who is going before them asking for money (i.e., a plaintiff in a malpractice case), they are not going to give that person much money. A likable plaintiff who is a good witness is going to do a lot better at trial than will an unpleasant plaintiff who is a forgetful, argumentative witness.
General damages refer to damages that are not specifically monetary, for example, damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional trauma. There is no tangible bills or receipts that state a specific dollar amount for pain and suffering or emotional damage, but they are still losses for which an injured person deserves compensation nonetheless.
While such an idea once sounded like pure science fiction, it would present enormous opportunities in business, leisure, and medicine. Imagine, someone with a rare disease or medical condition could quickly travel anywhere in the world to obtain the best treatment option. In fact, this is already occurring, as people travel to numerous places for both medical and dental treatment. But, as we all know, sometimes medical treatment goes wrong, and this raises an interesting question. Can you sue doctors in other countries for medical malpractice?
A doctor has to tell you about your condition, the nature of the proposed treatment, the risks of the treatment, and other options that you may have. You can’t consent to treatment unless the doctor gives you all this information. A doctor does not have to explain every possible risk, just the risks that a reasonable patient would want to know before deciding on treatment. This includes explaining what could happen and the likelihood of it happening.
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.

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor (or other medical professional) who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties. The rules about medical malpractice -- from when you must bring your lawsuit to whether you must notify the doctor ahead of time -- vary from state to state. But there are some general principals and broad categories of rules that apply to most medical malpractice cases. Here's an overview of the law and some of these special rules.

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