The terms negligence and malpractice are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, negligence is a failure to “exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise” in similar circumstances. Medical malpractice, according to Andre Calitz, the chief operating officer for personal injury law practice Joseph’s Incorporated in Johannesburg, is an evaluation of conduct measured against a standard of medical care established by the medical fraternity.
I think this is absolutely the right decision. As $15 million sounds like a lot of money, because it really is, this patient and her family are completely changed now. Her life might end because of the doctor’s negligence. There is no price for human life; no amount of money can possibility bring a life back. That is why the large award is to pay for all of her treatment, medical bills, and anything else that can help to rectify the mistakes by her doctor. This also serves as a deterrent to her doctor and radiologist and others as well to make sure they properly do their job and, when in doubt, as for a second opinion.
Suing a doctor for negligence requires much more than just filing a lawsuit in a Florida court. One of the prerequisites to filing a lawsuit against the doctor requires that you must first provide him or her with notice, indicating that you intend to file a lawsuit in the near future. A 90-day waiting period follows, during which the doctor may reject the claim outright, offer to settle the case, or ask to submit the case to arbitration.
In light of the speed a physician must operate at in a busy emergency room, one can only expect that some conditions may be overlooked or misdiagnosed. This does not automatically mean they are negligent. A patient would have to be able to show that another comparatively competent doctor under the same circumstance would not have missed the right diagnosis. That can be difficult when the defendant is able to factor in a busy patient load. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis alone is not a basis for a personal injury claim. The patient would have to be able to prove that by not accurately diagnosing an ailment, the condition progressed and negatively impacted the course of treatment. A good example of this would be a patient who complains of chest pain, is given antacids and then later suffers a heart attack. Had they been diagnosed correctly, preventive measures would have been taken. Instead, they now may need surgery to repair a damaged heart. There are many variables in a medical malpractice claim. The best option for the patient is to retain a medical malpractice attorney.
Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, author of Health Scare, argues that the reasons for poor outcomes in medical procedures are often kept hidden. McKiggan cites the 2004 Canadian Adverse Events Study that found that 70,000 of the 185,000 adverse effects suffered annually by hospital patients are potentially preventable. Between 9,250 and 23,750 patients die annually from preventable errors, involving doctors and other health practitioners.
In the mid 1990s the concept of a ‘gratuitous care’ award was developed by the High Court.  Basically, if you can’t look after yourself or your house (or in some cases your children) because of your injuries, then you can claim the cost of a commercial carer or cleaner even though your family is doing the tasks you can’t do.  For a while this was a very lucrative area of damages but now there are laws that place both a threshold and a cap on what you can claim.  Put simply, you aren’t entitled to any gratuitous care award unless you need at least 6 hours of assistance per week for at least 6 continuous months and the hourly rate of any award is capped at the Average Weekly Earnings hourly rate.  You should be careful, however, not to confuse gratuitous care with commercial care, which is a different claim for damages entirely and which is not the subject of thresholds or caps.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases are heart attacks and blood clots, infections or tumors. Misdiagnosis can delay treatment and can even be fatal. Mistakes are shockingly common when medication is administered, and surgical mistakes happen way too often. Sometimes doctors operate on the wrong body part, or on the wrong person entirely! The same formula above can be useful in trying to calculate the value of your medical malpractice case.
Ensuring that you have the necessary documentary evidence—medical records; witness statements to establish the full scope of your pain and suffering; and expert testimony to verify your injuries and the pain they are causing you—are matters that we have years of experience handling. Before and after witnesses are those individuals who knew you both before and after the incident giving rise to your injuries and are equipped to testify regarding how the accident has impacted you from their perspective. A spouse or significant other is typically an obvious ‘before and after’ witnesses because they live with you day in and out, taking notice of your physical pain and condition.
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Medical malpractice cases must be brought soon after the injury. In most states, you must bring a medical malpractice claim fairly quickly -- often between six months and two years, depending on the state. (The time period in which you must bring the lawsuit is called the "statute of limitations.") If you don't file the lawsuit within the specified period of time, the court will dismiss the case regardless of the facts.
Often, with major cases, focus groups are used to determine these kinds of situations. In a personal injury case focus group, a group of people volunteer to hear the facts of the case and then answer questions pertaining to the case so that the attorneys can get an idea of what the general public (and hopefully the future jury) is thinking. Knowing that a focus group of 20 people all thought the victim should be paid at least $50,000 can help a lot in determining a starting point.
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.
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.
In a personal injury trial in Florida you can ask the jury to compensate you for non-economic damages, which include damages as the result of any bodily injury sustained by Plaintiff and any resulting pain and suffering disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future. (Florida Standard Jury Instruction, See 501.2).
Loss of wages is capped at three times the Average Weekly Earnings published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Most injured people are not caught by this provision as it requires a gross salary of more than $140,000.00.  Claims for lost superannuation entitlements are only allowed at the compulsory employer contribution rate (currently 9% of your salary).
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In most cases, only the primary physician (your doctor) can be sued for misdiagnosis. In rare cases, other health care professionals may also be liable if their negligence caused or contributed to the patient’s harm -- including nurses, lab techs, and any specialists who may have seen the patient. The hospital or health care facility where the doctor practices usually cannot be sued for harm caused by misdiagnosis. That’s because most doctors are independent contractors, not employees of the hospital, so the facility can’t be held legally responsible for the doctor’s negligence.   

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.

Although it is not unheard of for a doctor to alter medical records, it is extremely rare. If your doctor does alter your medical records, this fact alone will not irreparably harm your case. There have been major advances in forensic technology over the past years. It is now possible to detect changes in ink, spacing, and handwriting that may have been made by your doctor when he tried to alter your records.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Each case is different and past record is no assurance that the lawyers will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case. Snyder & Snyder is a law firm with lawyers licensed to practice law in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The attorneys at Snyder & Snyder can also be specially admitted in those states where they are not licensed to practice. The lawyers at Snyder & Snyder are medical malpractice trial lawyers, who concentrate their practice in the following fields: Maryland Birth Injury, Maryland Cerebral Palsy, Maryland Brain Injury, Maryland Spinal Cord Injury, D.C. Birth Injury, D.C. Cerebral Palsy, D.C. Brain Injury, D.C. Spinal Cord Injury. *Some verdicts may have been adjusted after trial.

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.
More often that not, however, a claim will fail on the fourth element, because Judges have a hard time believing that someone who has gone to a doctor with a problem would not accept the doctor’s recommended solution.  People take risks every day – risks involving being in a car, crossing the street, taking pain killers, agreeing to medical procedures. A savvy doctor who is being sued for failing to warn will trawl through your past and look for behaviour that evidences your particular tendency to take risks and will try to use it against you to defeat your claim.  A good medical negligence lawyer Sydney would have taken you through all that before you decide to sue so that you know whether or not you are likely to win a failure to warn claim.
"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."

I was recently abruptly terminated by my employer of 17 years. I worked for a relatively small (25-30 employees), family-owned, manufacturing company in a niche market, in the position of general manager for the past 10, and was responsible for distributor relations, trade shows, etc for the entire 17. Without any warning, I was terminated via text message in December. I didn't have the opportunity to speak with any of the customers that I had formed relationships with over the years, to clear out my office of 17 years of accumulated personal belongings, or to even speak with anyone regarding my termination. I was sent a letter from an attorney representing the company instructing me that I was not to attempt to contact the company directly. My belongings were (literally!) thrown into a couple of boxes (picture frames and momentos were broken), and shipped to my home - I live 2 miles from the company. A friend - still employed there, noticed some of my personal things; including a 5x7 school photo of my family, in the trash, and retrieved it and other items to return to me, but had to leave the soiled items in the trash. I have no record of disciplinary problems nor any reason to have anticipated any of this. I feel stripped of my dignity, my reputation, my friends. I went from making $75,000 yr to less than $400 wk on unemployment. Since my termination I understand that the a family member of the owner has taken over many of the responsibilities that had been mine, leading me to believe that this was likely the motive, and while I understand family ties and obligations, and realize that no labor laws have been broken, it was done maliciously, knowing the devastation it would cause to me.


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.

A new, relatively untested issue involving medical professionals was introduced with the passing of the Consumer Protection Act in 2008. In the context of health care, the term “service” means work performed by a person for the direct or indirect benefit of another, including the provision of medical advice by a health professional. The Act thus widens the range of events for which you can claim compensation. It also enables you to seek compensation from manufacturers of medical products and devices in the event of their malfunction.
1. When a person comes into a medical facility and asks to be evaluated, the hospital must provide a medical screening examination (MSE) to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor. The hospital may not decide on treatment based on your ability to pay and may not delay treatment to your detriment because they want to prove you can pay, such as pre-authorization from private health insurance. Thus the statute puts your welfare above the pocketbook of the hospital. The statute requires the hospital to use the medical equipment on hand, such as xray, CAT scan, MRI, EMG, EKG equipment as part of the emergency medical screening (EMC) process. So if the hospital just figures you are ok without doing tests, they may be liable under EMTALA. EMTALA applies to any patient coming in to the hospital, not just indigent patients.
The settlement a person receives for their pain and suffering depends on many factors. This includes the severity of the injury, type of medical treatment received, the length of recovery time, and potential long term consequences of the personal injuries. In addition to physical pain, claimants can also cite emotional and psychological trauma in their pain and suffering claims. For example, a visible scar on the face can lead to painful feelings of constant embarrassment and insecurity.

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.
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.
In some states, emotional distress claims based on negligence may be barred, depending on the presence, or lack thereof, of physical injury: some states bar emotional distress claims in cases where the distress is a direct result of physical injury, others require some demonstration of a physical injury or illness as a result of the emotional distress. And other states limit NIED claims to emotional distress experienced directly or as a bystander within a zone of physical danger.
* Contingency fee model. An alternative to the fee-for-service model, where the injured party takes all the risk, is the contingency fee model. This option, provided for by the Contingency Fees Act of 1997, offers a mechanism for people with insufficient funds to access the courts if they have a good case. Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, lawyers provide their services on a “no win, no fee” basis. If the case is successful, the lawyers are entitled to double their fees to a maximum of 25 percent of the settlement, whichever is lower.
Non-economic damages cover certain type of injuries that are not out-of-pocket losses, including pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, mental anguish, loss of consortium (companionship) as well as emotional distress. Because these damages are often difficult to calculate and, juries may overcompensate and non-economic damages can exceed actual economic damages. There is no standard formula to calculate these non-economic damages; therefore they vary on a case by case basis and are referred to as subjective damages because they differ according to a plaintiff's personal or subjective experience.
The biggest hurdle for patients to get over in bringing a claim is a law that sets up a defence for all professionals accused of negligence.  It says that if the professional acted in a way that was widely accepted in Australia by that professional’s peers as competent professional practice then the professional is not liable.  Note that ‘widely accepted’ does not necessarily mean that the majority of professionals have to agree to the practice.
More often that not, however, a claim will fail on the fourth element, because Judges have a hard time believing that someone who has gone to a doctor with a problem would not accept the doctor’s recommended solution.  People take risks every day – risks involving being in a car, crossing the street, taking pain killers, agreeing to medical procedures. A savvy doctor who is being sued for failing to warn will trawl through your past and look for behaviour that evidences your particular tendency to take risks and will try to use it against you to defeat your claim.  A good medical negligence lawyer Sydney would have taken you through all that before you decide to sue so that you know whether or not you are likely to win a failure to warn claim.
Plaintiffs can also sue for the negligent infliction of severe emotional distress that they experienced because of someone else’s injury. This types of suit occur sometimes when a person has to witness the injury or death of a loved one caused by another person’s negligence. However, to succeed on such a claim one must be able to prove that their distress was an immediate and foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. In addition, the plaintiff generally must physically witness the accident in order to be able to recover for this type of claim.
Most states have case law requiring courts to simultaneously treat those who represent themselves, known as pro se (pronounced “pro say”) litigants by the same standards as a minimally competent attorney. However, they are also usually required to give pro se litigants the benefit of the doubt. This strange double standard can lead to unusual and unpredictable results.
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.
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