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How to File a Medical Malpractice Suit

Modern medicine has evolved through years of research, testing and development.  Vaccines, treatments, therapies and surgeries help improve our quality of life every day. 

Unfortunately, our medical system is far from perfect and medical malpractice can lead to debilitating injuries. Studies suggest that medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S

When the professionals you turn to for healing cause you or a loved one harm, it can feel like a hopeless situation. However, you shouldn’t deal with the burden of their negligence on your own. From lost wages to medical bills, you are entitled to compensation.

If you’ve suffered from medical malpractice, keep reading to learn more about how to file a medical malpractice suit.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is an act of negligence on the part of a hired health care professional that harms the patient or causes death.

What Are Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Suit?

Medical malpractice suits come in many forms. Here are some common examples of medical negligence:

  • Improper Diagnosis: If a doctor misdiagnoses an illness or injury, they can prescribe the wrong treatment, which doesn’t heal the current condition and may create more problems.
  • Failure to Diagnose: Missing a diagnosis can cause further harm to you as the disease or condition will worsen over time without treatment.
  • Medication Errors: Medication errors occur if your health care provider prescribes you the incorrect medication, causing adverse reactions.  
  • Surgical Errors: Surgical errors result in further harm to the patient from the operation. The surgeon may leave medical equipment inside the patient, operate on the incorrect part of the body or expose the patient to infection.
  • Birth Injuries: If the medical professional in charge of delivering your baby injures them in the process, the injury can leave them with permanent disabilities. 

What Medical Malpractice Isn’t

While there are many ways you can suffer from medical malpractice, here are a few instances where you can’t place the blame on your healthcare provider:

  • When you are disappointed with the outcome of the treatment or your condition gets worse. While we go to medical care professionals for help with our illnesses and injuries, treatments can have a wide variety of outcomes. As long as the specialist you worked with showed “reasonable care,” they aren’t considered negligent.
  • Your condition is untreatable. If you’ve been diagnosed with an illness that healthcare specialists can’t treat with reasonable care, they can’t be held responsible.
  • A medical professional gives you advice but isn’t paid to treat you. While you can ask for advice from a healthcare professional, you can’t file a lawsuit against them unless there is an established doctor-patient relationship. Both sides have to agree to care. 

What is the Process to File a Malpractice Suit?

If your doctor or other healthcare provider has acted negligently, here is an abbreviated process for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Remember, these cases are complex and will require time to sort through the amount of information that goes into them.

  • Contact a medical malpractice lawyer ASAP. Don’t try to take on these cases alone. You will need to cover a lot of essential details to have a successful outcome of your claim. An experienced attorney will help you with each step of your case. 
  • Consult another medical professional. You will need a document of confirmation from another health care specialist to present as proof of negligence. Your medical malpractice lawyer will most likely have several medical professionals you can contact.
  • Gather copies of your medical records. Your medical records will provide evidence of any malpractice. Your lawyer will need to review these records as part of their preparation for your case.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Suits

In the state of Missouri, the general rule of thumb is to file your claim within two years of discovery of the malpractice. If the malpractice happened to a minor, they have until their 20th birthday to file a claim. Unless you are a minor, you have a maximum of ten years after the treatment date to file a claim. 

It’s crucial to contact an experienced, proven medical malpractice attorney as soon as you think you have been a victim of malpractice. 

Limitations for Noneconomic Compensation in Missouri

Whenever you pursue a medical malpractice case in Missouri, there are a few limits to the amount of noneconomic compensation you can receive. 

The difference between economic and noneconomic compensation is: economic damages include compensation for medical costs and lost wages, while noneconomic damages include pain, emotional anguish, humiliation, reputation damage and any other damages that are more difficult to calculate.

Here are some of the limitations:

  • For personal injury out of the rendering of or failure to render health care services, the plaintiff can’t receive more than $400,000 in noneconomic compensation.
  • For catastrophic injuries (quadriplegia, paraplegia, loss of two or more limbs, brain injury that causes cognitive impairment), a plaintiff can’t receive more than $700,000 in noneconomic compensation. 
  • In wrongful death cases against health care providers, a plaintiff can’t receive more than $700,000 in noneconomic compensation.

If a healthcare professional has wrongfully injured you, contact Eng and Woods Attorneys at Law today. We’re dedicated to getting our clients the compensation they need to cover lost wages and medical costs. For more information on how they’ve helped other clients, visit their results page for more details.

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    903 E. Ash Street
    Columbia, Missouri 65201
    Phone: 573-874-4190
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