By some accounts, the third-leading cause of death in the United States after cancer and heart disease is injuries caused by medical error. Not all patient injuries or deaths that happen while under the care of medical providers involve medical malpractice. This makes legal claims of medical malpractice challenging cases to prove.
But when a patient is injured through a negligent act by a medical care provider, the injured patient or family members, such as the parents of a child injured at birth, may seek compensation for their losses. A birth injury potentially means a lifetime of medical costs. The North Carolina birth injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran can help your family if you or your child has been injured due to a medical negligence of a healthcare provider.
Our attorneys are dedicated to pursuing these difficult cases when they are appropriate because we understand what it’s like to face these terrible circumstances. Our attorneys have experience with birth injuries and other medical malpractice cases. We represent clients throughout North Carolina. Contact us today at 800-434-8399 or through our online contact form for a free legal consultation about your case.
What is Provable Medical Malpractice?
Medical care providers are obligated to provide treatment that meets a recognized standard of care. If a doctor or another provider deviates from the accepted standard of care by acting or failing to act as most prudent medical professionals would in a similar situation, and it leads to serious injury, the health care provider involved may be held legally liable for any harm the patient suffers.
Characteristics of a Medical Malpractice Claim According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA)
- A violation of the standard of care. If it is determined that the health care provider has not met the standard of care, then medical negligence may be established.
- An injury caused by negligence. The individual filing the malpractice claim must prove the patient suffered an injury that would not have occurred but for the doctor’s negligence. Many medical procedures involve certain risks, and an unfavorable outcome by itself is not malpractice. The plaintiff must prove that the injury was preventable and was caused as a result of the health care provider’s negligence.
- The injury caused significant damages. To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must show that the malpractice resulted in preventable injury, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, loss of income, or significant past and future medical bills.
There are many potential forms of medical malpractice. Any medical professional, technician, or institution such as a hospital, surgery center, or birthing center may be sued for malpractice.
Types of Medical Negligence that Might Lead to a Lawsuit
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgery on the wrong site
- Improper medication or dosage
- Premature discharge
- Failure to take appropriate patient history
- Failure to order proper diagnostic tests
- Failure to recognize symptoms
The primary causes of birth injuries are the rough handling of the infant during a difficult delivery and a lack of oxygen to the child’s brain before the child can breathe on his or her own.
There may be complications that lead to preventable injury due to error during Caesarian section surgery.
Challenges for Proving Medical Negligence & Malpractice
There are tests of a medical malpractice claim, which must be answered in the affirmative for a case to be viable.
Is there cause for a claim?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive to pursue. They typically require the review of the medical records by independent medical experts as well as many hours to take deposition testimony from the members of a medical team. For a case to be viable, there must be significant costs and losses that can be proven to have been caused by an injury suffered because of a preventable medical error or omission. If the damages are small, the cost of pursuing the case might be greater than the compensation that may be recovered.
Does negligence exist?
To establish medical negligence, you must show that a doctor or other provider acted in a manner that another provider of similar skill would not have in the same situation. The harm must be directly caused by the provider’s carelessness or recklessness. It’s not just a matter of something going wrong. The medical provider’s choice must be a deviation from the recognized standard of care.
Can a jury be persuaded?
Most medical malpractice cases are settled out of court, but for a malpractice insurer to settle, they have to see a real chance of losing in court. Insurers know that a jury will often give the doctor the benefit of the doubt when hearing a malpractice case. Therefore, unless the medical error is obvious and egregious, the plaintiff’s case usually relies on expert testimony by doctors who have similar training and expertise as the defendants. They must be able to provide a compelling and understandable explanation of what the defendant did wrong and how this caused the injury in question. This is made more difficult by the fact that, when medical cases go bad, there are usually multiple issues that led to the outcome. It can be challenging to lead a jury through each medical response to difficult labor and delivery and for that scenario to hold up to questioning and alternative explanations presented by the defense and their experts.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
If you or your child has been injured, the birth injury attorneys at Hardison & Cochran can help you assess a potential medical malpractice claim and move forward as appropriate. In a medical malpractice lawsuit over a birth injury, for example, the child’s parents would seek compensation on behalf of their child and for their expenses and mental anguish. A child with a significant birth injury could face a lifetime of costs and lost opportunities.
Our legal team at Hardison & Cochran can have medical experts review your medical records. If you believe you or your child has been a victim of medical malpractice in North Carolina, let our compassionate medical malpractice attorneys at Hardison & Cochran review your case and answer your questions. We do not charge a legal fee unless we recover compensation for the client.
Contact Hardison & Cochran toll-free at 800-434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We’ll respond to you within 24 hours. Let us start helping you today.