We put our faith and trust in professionals every single day, whether it is taking our car into the shop for repairs or asking a technician to repair our computer. However, there is a class of professionals that we trust with life and death decisions. We put our life in their hands. Those professionals are doctors and other medical personnel.
We hold them in high esteem for good reasons, but what happens when a medical professional lets us down? When a member of the medical community makes a negligent mistake, the results can be disastrous and even life-altering.
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously complex and require an enormous amount of proof and preparation. You may feel hesitant or even intimidated to pursue a case against a medical professional, but you don’t have to go through this alone.
At Derek L. Hall, PC, our duty as a personal injury law firm is to hold people accountable for their negligent actions and make sure that victims have the compensation they need to recover and move on with their lives. Not only do we have a proven track record at trial, but we also make sure that you have direct access and communication with your lawyer when you need it. We also have the resources necessary to find medical experts to help with your case.
Don’t wait any longer to get on the road to recovery. Call Derek L. Hall, PC today by phone, or reach out to us online for a free consultation. Our experienced Jackson medical malpractice attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping clients just like you get the justice and compensation they deserve after devastating events like medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
We know that everyone makes mistakes, but what does that mean in a medical setting, especially when the stakes are so high? How do you define medical malpractice under the law? Can anyone who makes a mistake be sued, or is the answer more complicated than that?
Technically, medical malpractice happens when a medical professional or institution like a hospital causes an injury to a patient by deviating from the accepted standard of care.
A case must meet specific conditions in order to constitute medical malpractice. Those include:
- Violating the standard of care. When a patient is treated by a medical professional, they have the right to expect that a doctor or other medical professional will deliver care that is consistent with what other competent health care professionals would provide under similar circumstances.
- Negligence caused an injury. In order to have a medical malpractice case, the doctor’s actions or lack thereof must have caused a patient’s injury. An unfavorable outcome after a procedure or treatment is not alone sufficient grounds for a malpractice claim. The patient has to prove that some sort of negligence on the part of the medical professional or hospital caused them to suffer an injury that would not normally have occurred.
- The injury resulted in harm or injury. A patient has to show that the medical professional’s negligent actions or lack thereof caused specific significant damage or injury.
At the core of a medical malpractice suit is the question of negligence. You may be intimidated by the lengthy legal process and unsure if you should file a claim. Medical professionals have a duty to care for patients and an obligation to “do no harm.” Careless providers must be held responsible for their reckless actions.
Common Types of Negligent Medical Errors
Even the simplest of procedures has a complex set of steps, rules, and regulations that an entire medical team must follow in order to ensure a successful outcome for a patient. The number of mistakes that can be made grows significantly the more complicated the procedure or diagnosis is.
Medical errors are actually the third leading cause of death in the United States, a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine finds.
While every case has a diverse set of circumstances, here are a few of the most common medical errors in medical malpractice claims:
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part or organ
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
- Prescribing or administering the incorrect dosage
- Delayed diagnosis
- Birth injuries to a mother or her child
- Failure to obtain consent
- Lack of appropriate communication
Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Mistakes in Mississippi?
This is a tricky question to answer because liability depends on the circumstances surrounding the individual case. In general, there are a number of people or institutions that could be held liable for a medical malpractice suit depending on the situation.
For instance, a suit may be brought against a negligent healthcare provider such as a physician, nurse, anesthesiologist, dentist, pharmacist, or another medical provider. A hospital or medical practice may also be held liable for their negligence and may be included in a medical malpractice claim.
Since the question of liability is complicated, it’s critical to contact a skill medical malpractice attorney if you suspect that you’ve been hurt by a doctor or hospitals’ negligence. An experienced lawyer will carefully listen to the details of your circumstances, review the evidence, help determine who might be liable for your injuries, and help you make the most informed decision on how best to proceed.
Why Medical Malpractice Cases Are So Complex
Medical malpractice cases are complicated because you must provide a significant amount of evidence to prove that negligence took place and that a medical malpractice suit is in order. Proving that a physician or other healthcare provider was negligent can be difficult.
Under Mississippi law, mistakes or undesirable outcomes are not the same thing as true medical malpractice. Differentiating between them can be time-consuming and difficult, plus it might require outside medical opinions and substantiating documentation.
In Mississippi, medical malpractice claims must include a type of certificate known as a “Certificate of Consultation” where the injured party swears under oath the following information:
- An attorney has reviewed the patient’s claim in consultation with at least one medical expert. This expert must be qualified under Mississippi law to give an opinion on the appropriate medical standard of care applicable to the patient’s case. This expert lays out the case for negligence.
- An attorney can reasonably believe that expert knowledge is relevant to their client’s medical condition and issues.
- The attorney and qualified expert can agree that there is a reasonable basis for a lawsuit to exist.
Under Mississippi law, only certain people are qualified to be “experts” for the Certificate of Consultation. The law specifies that an expert must be an individual who is licensed to practice medicine in Mississippi or any other state.
Another reason that medical malpractice cases can be lengthy and complex is the fact that the burden of proof rests with the person making a claim. The patient is entirely responsible for proving that the health care provider acted outside of the reasonable standard of care and was negligent. They must also prove that the injury was caused by the reckless doctor, another medical provider, or facility, and not by some other injury or underlying medical condition. It might take experts and piles of medical documentation to establish negligence on the part of a health care provider.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to prove your case and aggressively pursue your claim. Jackson attorneys who focus on cases where a patient has been injured at the hands of a medical or healthcare provider know the tactics that these facilities use to dispute claims and can help you fight for your legal rights.
Compensation You Could Recover on a Medical Negligence Claim
The amount of compensation that you could receive from a medical malpractice case varies depending on the circumstances of your case and the level of your injuries. Like many U.S. states, Mississippi puts a cap on some types of damages in medical malpractice cases.
There are two types of damages you may be able to recover from a medical malpractice suit:
- Economic damages. This type of compensation includes payment for medical bills, future medical bills or care, lost income, and future loss of income if your earning capacity has been diminished by your injuries. There is no cap on economic damages under Mississippi law.
- Non-economic damages. These types of damages include pain and suffering, stress, loss of enjoyment of life, or disfigurement. Mississippi caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $500,000.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Mississippi?
Mississippi places a time limit – also called a statute of limitations – on the amount of time you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. State law typically gives you two years from the date the medical provider committed the alleged malpractice. If you are trying to pursue a malpractice case after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant doctor or hospital will usually ask the court to dismiss the case.
With that in mind, there are special circumstances that can impact that rule. The statute stipulates that a claim must be brought within two years of the incident. However, what if you aren’t immediately aware that there was a problem or a misdiagnosis for instance? You might be able to get an extension beyond the original two-year timeline and file a claim within two years of the date when you discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, that there was an issue. This is sometimes referred to as a discovery rule.
Keeping track of all the laws and regulations, along with your medical paperwork and other evidence, is a daunting prospect – especially when you’re trying to focus on seeking treatment and recovering from your injuries. With all that’s going on, it is easy to miss important deadlines. However, a skilled Jackson medical malpractice attorney can help relieve these burdens and help make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to seek the compensation you’re owed.
An experienced lawyer can help you gather the needed medical documentation and other evidence needed to prove your case, plus they can lead you through the maze of legal requirements necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve.
The medical field is complicated. The law can be complicated. Trying to navigate your way through both worlds is tough. That’s why you need experienced legal representation on your side.
Discuss Your Medical Error Claim with Our Lawyers Now
You put your trust in a medical professional when you felt at your most vulnerable. It is understandable that in addition to your physical and emotional pain, you are feeling hesitant about putting your trust in someone else. You already feel let down.
At Derek L. Hall, PC, we know that you are in a vulnerable and unsettling position. That’s why when you call our experienced legal team, you get to speak with a compassionate and caring attorney with years of experience fighting for victims just like you. Our skilled medical malpractice lawyers will listen to your story, advise you about your options, and help you fight for your rights.
It seems overwhelming to try to figure out where to begin when you’ve been hurt by someone you thought you could trust. Fortunately, all you need to know is that you can start with us. Call Derek L. Hall, PC for a free consultation today or reach out to us online. We can answer your questions and set the wheels of justice in motion for you.