When it comes to our health, it can be challenging to entrust what we hold so dear to someone else. But when medical attention is necessary, patients expect to receive the care they need to recover and get their lives back in order. However, sometimes negligent health care professionals can worsen conditions with their actions or inactions. If you’ve been a victim of this type of mistake, a Jackson medical malpractice lawyer is prepared to help.
While difficult to determine, a previous Johns Hopkins study described medical malpractice as the third-leading cause of premature, wrongful death in the United States. This figure is difficult to determine because instances often go unreported due to patients being unaware of the cause of their suffering and doctors being unwilling to risk their medical reputations.
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we firmly believe negligent medical providers should be held accountable for their errors.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Compared to other areas of personal injury law, medical malpractice lawsuits can be fairly complex. To know if you have the grounds for a claim, it’s important to understand what medical malpractice is and how it is defined.
Understanding the Standard of Care Medical Providers Must Abide By
Health care professionals are required to provide patients with a certain standard of care. This standard is recognized by professionals in the medical field as being acceptable treatment by prudent healthcare professionals. A patient has the right to expect that their doctors and nurses will deliver care that is consistent with the agreed-upon standards.
When a doctor or other care provider breaches the standard, and a patient is harmed as a result, medical malpractice can be proven. Medical malpractice victims can generally seek compensation from various defendants, depending on the nature of the negligent acts.
Potential defendants may include doctors or associated Jackson, MS medical facilities. The key in cases like these is that the victim must be able to show that the wrongful diagnosis, hospital acquired infection, traumatic brain injury, wrongful death, or other adverse outcome they suffered would not have occurred if the medical provider had not committed a negligent act.
Examples of Medical Negligence
As mentioned above, Jackson, MS medical malpractice cases involve a negligent act. The following are a few of the most prevalent medical errors that occur in the United States:
- Delayed Diagnosis
- Failure To Diagnose
- Misdiagnosis (Wrongful Diagnosis)
- Surgical Mistakes or Errors
- Birth Injuries
- Dental Errors
- Medication Mistakes
- Anesthesia Errors
- Failure To Obtain Informed Consent
Reasons Why Medical Professionals Make Negligent Mistakes
There is never an excuse for instances of medical malpractice; however, there are a few common causes that should be discussed. Suffering from the consequences of medical negligence can be traumatic, which is why it’s important to understand why these mistakes are made. This understanding can help you and your personal injury attorney from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC build a strong Jackson, MS medical malpractice case.
A medical provider may be pressured to perform a treatment, procedure, or surgery they don’t have the knowledge or experience to complete, putting patients at risk.
Many different physicians, including the primary treating doctor, specialists, surgeons, and anesthesiologists work on patients. There are other healthcare professionals like nurses, respiratory technicians, physical therapists, and pharmacists too.
Doctors need to actively communicate with other medical professionals to ensure patients are receiving what they need when they need it. When communication with a doctor fails, patients can get mixed up or receive the wrong medication. There are even instances where patients are discharged early.
It’s no secret that health care professionals often work long hours. Those individuals, however, need to be able to make skilled judgment calls at all times. When a doctor is extremely fatigued, they’re most likely to make mistakes.
Lack of Organization
Hospitals treat hundreds of patients a day, which is why organization is crucial. When vital information isn’t collected properly or isn’t passed around like it needs to be, a patient could suffer.
For every medical event, there is a procedure that needs to be followed to ensure a patient receives the care they need. When corners are cut, like if surgical tools aren’t sterilized properly, there are likely to be consequences.
Why a Medical Malpractice Claim Can Be Complex
It’s not uncommon to hear medical malpractice attorneys say during a free consultation that these cases are complex. They say this because legal matters like this often require significant investigation, including careful review of medical records and the testimony of other medical experts. The injury also has to be significant enough to have resulted in disability, lost wages, suffering or hardship, or significant past and future medical expenses.
If you believe that you or a family member may have been a victim of medical negligence that resulted in serious injury, our attorneys are prepared to investigate your claim. Let medical malpractice lawyers from our Jackson law firm provide you with a free consultation so we can review your case. If we establish an attorney client relationship, our Jackson, MS law firm can work towards getting you the compensation you need to recover.
Handling a Mississippi Medical Malpractice Claim
Every state has its own laws regarding how instances of medical malpractice are handled. Mississippi is no exception. If you’re planning on filing a medical malpractice claim as a resident of the state, it’s important to understand the key laws. We’ll break them down below.
Statute of Limitations
When you initially meet with medical malpractice attorneys for a free case evaluation, one of the first questions you can expect them to ask is when your injury incident occurred. You may wonder why this is the first question out of medical malpractice attorneys’ mouths, and this is why it matters:
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations defines the amount of time a person has to file a medical malpractice claim after an event or loss has occurred.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Mississippi?
According to Mississippi Code Annotated Section 15-1-36, injured patients must file a claim within two years of the date the doctor or healthcare provider committed the medical negligence that resulted in a personal injury. In some cases, the time may be extended depending on when the correlation was discovered.
Exceptions to Mississippi’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
There is also a longer deadline for medical malpractice suits. It says that a medical malpractice claim cannot be filed more than seven years after the alleged act occurred.
This timeline is known as a statute of repose, and it means that once seven years have passed, a patient cannot file even if they weren’t aware of their injury immediately after it happened. The law assumes that, by then, they’ve had a reasonable opportunity to discover they had been harmed.
There are two primary exceptions to the statute of repose, including if:
- A foreign object was left inside a patient
- The malpractice was concealed through fraud
If the statute of limitations is not met, it is likely any medical malpractice claims filed will be thrown out without review. This explains why it’s imperative that you seek legal representation by attending a free consultation with an attorney. It’s critical to protect your right to take legal action.
Certificate of Consultation Jackson Medical Malpractice Lawyers Must Provide
A medical malpractice lawsuit has to be accompanied by a certificate in which the attorney of the injured patient swears the following under oath that they:
- Have spent time reviewing medical records in the case in consultation with at least one qualified expert to determine what standard of care should have been provided
- Believe the expert is reliable
- Believe there are grounds for a lawsuit based on the expert’s review of the medical records and subsequent consultation
This certificate of consultation requirement is spelled out in Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-1-58. MS medical malpractice lawyers who fail to provide the certificate of expert consultation could cause the dismissal of their clients’ medical malpractice claims.
When eligible for compensation, a med mal victim may receive economic and noneconomic damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of future care, and any other financial losses that can be tied to the personal injury.
What Are Noneconomic Damages?
Noneconomic damages are meant to compensate the victim for negative effects like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring or disfigurement.
In Mississippi, noneconomic damages are capped at $500,000.
For more information on your potential case and what you may be eligible for, discuss your situation with one of our experienced lawyers during a free initial consultation.
Put Your Trust in a Jackson, MS Medical Malpractice Attorney
We understand how traumatic it can be to be injured by a healthcare professional. While recovering physically and emotionally, it’s often difficult to think about taking legal action.
Our Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC medical malpractice lawyers in Jackson, MS are here to ease that burden for you. If you’re ready to hold the negligent doctor or hospital accountable for what you’ve been through, we will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.
To learn more about your legal rights and options or to file a medical malpractice claim, contact our Jackson office to schedule a free consultation today.