Medical malpractice cases are some of the most challenging personal injury cases. We put our trust in doctors, hospital staff, and other medical professionals to provide for our health needs—not act in a way that causes us harm. Yet medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Medical malpractice is a broad category, covering mistakes ranging from medication given in the wrong dosage to catastrophic injury resulting from a surgical mistake. When a patient suffers severe injury or wrongful death because a health care provider administered substandard care, medical malpractice lawsuits can help victims recover the compensation they need.
At Thomas Law Offices, our Louisville medical malpractice lawyers work vigilantly to hold medical providers to a higher standard of accountability. There is never an excuse for hospital negligence in Louisville, KY to go unaddressed. We fight to protect the rights of medical malpractice victims and wrongful death victims in our city and state. At our law firm, you know that your medical malpractice case is important to us.
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Common Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical negligence occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional who fails to provide the proper treatment in a reasonable amount of time. There are a number of different types of malpractice that can have devastating consequences for patients.
Some examples of the most common types of medical malpractice cases include:
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
When a doctor wrongfully diagnoses a serious condition, the patient might miss the opportunity for treatment. Diagnoses can be delayed or missed altogether. If a patient is not treated in a reasonable amount of time based on their symptoms, their condition could worsen. If their illness isn’t diagnosed at all, the consequences could be deadly. A failure to diagnose cancer is a dangerous and tragically common medical mistake.
Medical malpractice claims can arise from errors made during surgery. This may include puncturing internal organs, wrong-site surgery, leaving surgical instruments or sponges inside the patient’s body, or even wrong-patient surgery. In a medical malpractice case involving a surgical error, evidence will need to be gathered to prove that your surgeon violated a duty of care during the medical procedure. Serious medical errors can occur if a medical expert is distracted, fatigued, inattentive, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of surgery.
Injuries during childbirth can cause lifelong damage to both the baby and the mother. Conditions like the following can severely affect the newborn’s life:
- Cerebral palsy
- Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
- Brachial plexus injury, and
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
Such injuries are entirely preventable and are often caused by medical error. Negligent prenatal care or lack of proper diagnosis of certain conditions could also lead to problems during or after labor.
Millions of people in the United States are harmed each year by medication mistakes. These mistakes can occur when:
- A prescription is written inaccurately
- A drug is improperly administered
- A prescription is filled with the incorrect medication
- Medication is given in the wrong dosage
Communication and records errors can also cause a patient to be given medication to which they are allergic. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are all responsible for ensuring patients receive the proper medication.
Even a minor error made by an anesthesiologist could result in permanent injury. Anesthesia errors most often made during surgery include improper dosage, failure to properly intubate patients, and failure to monitor the patient. If a patient receives too much anesthesia, they can suffer from oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Too little anesthesia can result in waking up during surgery or experiencing unnecessary pain.
Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
The Louisville medical malpractice attorneys from Thomas Law Offices have extensive experience in all types of medical malpractices. In addition to the common types of malpractice cases listed above, we also handle the following types of medical malpractice lawsuits in Louisville, KY and throughout the state:
- Emergency room errors
- Dental malpractice
- Gastric bypass surgery errors
- Pediatric malpractice
- Medical errors in ophthalmology
- Nursing home abuse involving negligent medical treatment
- Radiology malpractice
- Medical negligence in the mental health field
- Specialist malpractice (including neurologist, OB/GYN, oncologist, urologist, and cardiologist errors)
No matter what kind of personal injury you or a loved one suffered at the hands of negligent medical practitioners, our Louisville medical malpractice attorneys will fight to prove medical malpractice was the cause of your injuries—even when powerful for-profit hospitals attempt to shield themselves from liability.
We have strong relationships with medical experts who can verify that your doctor or other healthcare professional acted in an unfit manner. Your Louisville medical malpractice attorney from Thomas Law Offices will be on your side every step of the way as we help you file your medical malpractice claim.
Causes of Medical Malpractice
Although, in some cases, a medical error may be an isolated mistake, most medical malpractice claims reveal patterns of problematic behaviors. Through the investigation of even one medical malpractice claim, personal injury lawyers often reveal rampant dangerous practices in a hospital setting.
The actions or inactions that lead to malpractice are entirely preventable, which is why victims deserve financial compensation to aid in their recovery. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons malpractice occurs.
Something as minor as an illegible chart can have serious consequences. If there is any miscommunication (oral, written, implied, or otherwise) regarding a patient’s treatment plan, serious consequences can result. Miscommunications can also travel from the administrative level down when regulations and protocols aren’t properly communicated to staff members.
Most hospitals are notoriously understaffed, a problem that has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, patients often receive delayed and substandard care. Medical staff may be tasked with procedures they’re not prepared for, causing patients to suffer neglect, misdiagnosis, or poorly-executed medical procedures.
When a healthcare professional is pressured to perform a procedure they haven’t done or do not know how to do, patients’ lives are put at risk. The procedure or surgery could quickly go wrong if the doctor doesn’t know how to correctly follow through. Even if the procedure goes well, the patient could suffer consequences later on. This often happens when a surgery appears successful, but medical complications that arise weeks, months, or even years later can be traced back to the operation.
Because of understaffing, healthcare professionals are often overworked. This can quickly lead to fatigue, creating a situation in which doctors and nurses are not operating at their full mental and physical capacities. Fatigue is linked with symptoms such as impaired decision-making, slowed response times, muscle weakness, and blurred vision. A fatigued worker is also more likely to abuse prescription or over-the-counter drugs in an effort to increase energy.
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Sadly, there are instances in which doctors or other staff choose to work with patients while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible, and always puts patients’ lives in danger.
Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice cases are often extremely difficult to prove. In comparison to other negligence claims like car accidents or slip and fall accidents, the legal process for most medical malpractice cases is lengthier, more involved, more complicated, and costlier. Because of this, not every personal injury law firm will handle these types of cases. Injury victims need to be sure they are partnering with a malpractice lawyer who has the experience necessary to successfully take on their case.
In order to prove malpractice, the following elements need to be present:
This refers to the obligatory standard of care medical professionals are required to comply with when treating patients. Part of this includes demonstrating that a doctor-patient relationship between you and the medical provider existed, and that a duty of care was owed to you based on this relationship.
Breach of Duty
This occurs when a doctor or nurse neglects to provide the standard of care. In other words, the medical professional failed to act in the way that another reasonable individual of their position would have done under the same circumstances. Your medical malpractice lawyer will need to consult with experts in the same field of medicine to prove that the standard of care was not met.
The patient needs to show that they were injured or suffered in some way. As a result of medical mistakes, victims generally incur medical treatment costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. For your medical malpractice case to be successful, your attorney will gather evidence (such as your medical records) to demonstrate the full impact that medical negligence had on your life.
There needs to be a connection made between the breach of duty and the damages you sustained. In short, you must be able to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the error that occurred. While this may seem straightforward, hospitals are often eager to protect their assets and cover evidence of the medical mistakes that injure their patients.
When medical malpractice occurs, you have a legal right to seek compensation for the losses you suffered. A Louisville medical malpractice lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will make sure that you are not left to shoulder the cost of medical expenses alone. Medical errors change patients’ lives. It is never right for an injury victim to bear the financial burden of another party’s negligence—especially when that party has a duty to protect and save lives.
How Medical Malpractice Is Handled in Kentucky
In order to file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, you’ll need to be aware of the laws that pertain to your case. Your Louisville medical malpractice lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will be up to date on new laws and amendments, ensuring you receive the best legal representation.
The Statute of Limitations on Malpractice Cases
A statute of limitations is a set limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Kentucky’s limit is established under the Revised Statutes section 413.140. According to that section, the case must be filed within one year after the action that caused the injury took place or was discovered. If the lawsuit is not filed within the year, it will likely be dismissed without review.
There may be special circumstances that allow for a longer statute of limitations. Your attorney will review your case and advise you of the timeline applicable to your medical malpractice claim. It is always best to begin the legal process as soon as possible. In this way, valuable evidence can be preserved, and your Louisville medical malpractice lawyer will have sufficient time to meet all deadlines.
Caps on Damages in Kentucky
While a number of states have imposed caps on the amount of compensation a party can receive from a medical negligence lawsuit, this is not the case in Kentucky. The injured patient is free to recover for all financial losses that can be traced back to the malpractice.
Injured parties may be able to receive compensation for past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages from time off work, pain and suffering, and more.
Pursue Justice With a Louisville Medical Malpractice Attorney from Thomas Law Offices
If you or a loved one was harmed by a negligent medical care provider, you don’t have to stand up to a powerful hospital insurance company alone. A Louisville medical malpractice attorney will examine your claim and determine the best course of action for your circumstances.
We understand the emotional and financial challenges you may be facing due to no fault of your own. You should not have to pay for someone else’s wrongdoing. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation with an experienced Louisville medical malpractice lawyer.