In 2016, according an NPR report, researchers from John Hopkins suggested that medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States, after only heart disease and cancer. Statistics show that there are anywhere from 15,000 to 19,000 medical malpractice cases in the U.S. every year.
For medical malpractice to be considered the law requires that multiple factors be involved, such as failure to provide a proper standard of care and an injury results from that negligence causing significant harm, such as being in constant pain, suffering, significant loss of income, disability and enduring hardship.
For those who’ve been a victim of these circumstances, it’s best to contact a medical malpractice attorney in Pittsburgh, or any city in which you live or that’s close by, for advice. The law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules that vary considerably depending on where you live. Still, there are a few things that are generally true for everyone seeking to receive compensation for medical malpractice.
Filing a lawsuit. The plaintiff, or their legal representative (usually your attorney) will need to file a lawsuit in a court of law. In most states, you can’t wait too long before filing a suit, typically you have anywhere between six months and two years – this is known as the statute of limitations. If your case isn’t filed within the period your state specifies, the court will dismiss it, no matter what the circumstances.
Proving your case. Your lawyer will need to prove that the physician was in fact negligent, and that his or her negligence led to any injuries or losses that you’ve suffered. Proving this can be challenging as expert testimony usually must be provided in order to establish the facts. Opinions by experts are frequently the most crucial factor in the case. There are exceptions, such as in obvious situations, like leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient following surgery. The question that will need to be answered is “did the healthcare provider involved act in a way that any sensible professional in the position would?”
Damage awards. You may be awarded compensatory damages, which include things like life care expenses, medical expenses and lost earning capacity, as well as punitive damages. Punitive damages would be awarded only if the defendant is found guilty of willful or malicious conduct. That includes compensation in addition to compensatory damages. Many states put a limit on the amount that can be awarded in a medical malpractice state, but your attorney can provide those details to you.