Medical malpractice lawsuits fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Personal injury law allows you to claim compensation for damages (which are losses) that you have incurred as a result of the negligence or wrongful actions of another. If you have been the victim of malpractice by an entity such as a hospital, medical center, or an individual such as a medical doctor or nurse, you need a Gadsden medical malpractice lawyer to assist you in suing for damages. A medical malpractice lawyer will provide you with the following services:
- Assess and evaluate your case to determine if you have a claim, who is liable, and the damages that you can claim for.
- Prepare your case and file your personal injury claim for compensation.
- Negotiate a settlement with the liable party, their lawyers, or insurance representatives.
- Present your case in a court of law to a judge and jury.
Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers is here to assist you every step of the way with your medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact our Gadsden personal injury lawyers at 256-666-6000 for a consultation and to get started on filing your claim for compensation.
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Modern medicine has advanced greatly in the last couple of years and has instituted a “standard of care” that every medical professional and institution is required to follow. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or institution deviates from the recognized standard of care resulting in harm to a patient.
In legal terms, medical malpractice results when harm is caused to a patient by negligence, actions, or an omission by a medical practitioner or medical institution. It may also occur in the event that informed consent has not been received by a medical practitioner or institution.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
There are 4 elements that need to be proven in order to file for a medical malpractice claim:
1. Doctor-Patient Relationship – it must be established that the medical practitioner or institution had a duty of care towards the patient. Duty of care is a reasonable responsibility to prevent harm.
2. Negligence of duty of care where it must be proven that the actions or inactions of the medical practitioner resulted in a breach of duty of care.
3. Causation where the breach of duty of care (actions or inaction of the medical practitioner/institution) was the direct cause of the harm that was caused to the patient.
4. Damages or that harm was caused and that the patient experienced losses as a result of this harm.
In other words, the practitioner or institution must have been responsible for your care and acted or neglected to act in a way that caused harm that resulted in damages or losses in order to be held liable to pay compensation
WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
An individual person who is a medical practitioner or a medical institution can be held liable in a malpractice lawsuit. This includes:
– Healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.
– Medical institutions such as hospitals, medical centers, etc.
– Pharmaceutical companies
However, the 4 elements that are mentioned above must be proven in order for a healthcare professional or a medical institution to be held liable.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I GET FROM AN ALABAMA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
There are 3 categories of damages that you can claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These are:
1. Economic Damages
Economic damages are losses that you experienced to which an exact financial or monetary value can be attributed. This includes:
- Medical expenses that you may have incurred as a result of the malpractice – both immediate and in the future. If you need ongoing care, long-term rehabilitation or have been disabled, damages will take into account the cost of your future healthcare needs.
- Loss of wages or income that you may have experienced as a result of not being able to work due to the harm that was caused. You can also sue for future loss of income. If you were permanently disabled which prevents you from being able to work in the same capacity as you did before the malpractice occurred, you can sue for the potential income that you could have earned.
- Loss of services. For example, if you can no longer do your gardening or household chores and need to hire someone to take care of these tasks, you can sue for the additional cost of hiring a service provider.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are losses that you incurred to which no exact monetary value can be assigned. These can include:
- Disability or disfigurement
- Emotional or mental distress and pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or a relationship
- Loss of enjoyment of life where you are no longer able to partake in activities that you enjoyed before the malpractice occurred.
It is important to prove that non-economic damage caused an actual loss in order to form part of your claim for medical malpractice. Courts do not easily award non-economic damages. In the case of a settlement, the lawyers and insurance representatives will negotiate what they consider to be a fair amount to pay for non-economic damages. If the case goes to trial, the judge and jury will decide the amount that will be awarded.
3. Punitive Damages
In the event that a court finds that the healthcare professional or medical institution was grossly negligent in causing harm, then they may award punitive damages over and above the other damages that you receive. However, it is difficult to prove gross negligence and courts do not easily award this type of claim. The damages are intended to punish the liable party in order to prevent them from repeating the same behavior that caused harm in the first place.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS IN ALABAMA?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury medical malpractice lawsuit in Alabama is two years. This means that you have exactly 24 months from the date that the malpractice took place to file your claim for compensation. If this time period has expired, you can no longer file a claim.
HOW CAN AN ALABAMA LAWYER HELP YOU WITH YOUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
Although it is not a legal requirement to hire a medical malpractice lawyer to represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is highly recommended. Keep in mind that most medical professionals and institutions have medical malpractice insurance. It is therefore the insurance company that you will be claiming from and not the individual practitioner or medical institution.
Insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying a claim or to reduce the amount that they pay. In order to ensure that you receive fair compensation, it is critical to have a Gadsen medical malpractice lawyer represent you against insurance companies that can afford the best legal representation. A medical malpractice lawyer will also provide you with the following benefits:
- Investigate your case to determine what harm was caused, how it was caused, and who is liable.
- Prepare and file the necessary documentation.
- Negotiate a settlement with the liable party.
- Present your case in civil court.
In most cases, your medical malpractice lawyer will do their utmost to settle your malpractice case out of court. Court trials are lengthy and can be costly. Insurance companies have the time and the money to spend on lengthy trials. In addition, there is no certainty about the outcome of a case when it goes to court. It is entirely in the hands of the jury as to whether to award compensation and the amount of compensation that you will receive. You may end up with far less than you deserve or no compensation for your losses at all.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO HIRE A GADSDEN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER?
Mike Bell’s personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that getting paid is contingent or dependent on us winning your case. If we don’t win your medical malpractice case, then we don’t get paid. When we do win, we will charge a small percentage of the compensation that you received to cover our legal fees.
Whether we negotiate a settlement on your behalf or your case goes to court, it is in our best interests to ensure that you receive the maximum amount possible. Our contingency fee means that you don’t need any money for us to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and that we will work harder to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
A GADSEN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER AT MIKE BELL ACCIDENT & INJURY LAWYERS IS HERE TO HELP!
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in the last two years, you may have a claim for compensation from a medical practitioner or institution. Let Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers investigate the events to determine if you have a case, who is liable, and what you can sue for.
Give us a call today at 256-666-6000 to schedule a free consultation so that we can get started with filing your personal injury claim as soon as possible. It won’t cost you anything and you have nothing to lose.