Undergoing surgery always has risks. Even when surgeons have a comprehensive knowledge of the procedure, accidents are still prone to happen. However, some of these accidents are easily preventable and caused in part by the lack of diligence on the part of the doctor. While there are several types of medical errors, one common link between them is that they have the potential to impact a patient’s life and cause irreversible damage.
Before undergoing a medical procedure, patients usually sign a form granting their informed consent to having the procedure and acknowledging the risks attached with the same. Does that mean that if they sign, there is no right for a patient to pursue some sort of recompense if they did not receive proper medical care? What is the standard of care for surgery? How do patients know if they have grounds for a medical malpractice claim? These are some of the most common questions clients ask when it comes to medical malpractice claims. Getting the right answers to these questions can be the difference between a lifetime of suffering and getting the compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
There are many types of surgical errors and understanding what basis you have for a case is the first step in determining the validity of any medical malpractice claim. While not a comprehensive list, some of the most common surgical errors that occur include:
- Operations on the wrong site of the body;
- Anesthesia mistakes;
- Inadequate follow up care;
- Foreign objects are left in the body;
- Damage to internal organs or nerves; and
- Unnecessary surgeries.
As mentioned, these are only a few of the many surgical errors that could happen as a result of inadequate medical care. These mistakes can have life-altering consequences and could even result in death. It is important to keep your health in mind before and after the surgery and document your care and the timeframes on when these errors are recognized, as there are strict timeframes in place when it comes to filing a claim for improper medical care.
How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice?
A claimant and their attorney must prove that the medical provider deviated from the accepted standard of care in the community where the treatment occurred. Qualified expert testimony is needed to prove medical malpractice.
A patient’s medical record is often the most important piece of evidence in a case as it establishes a timeline of medical care. Thus obtaining a complete set of medical records and diagnostic films is essential. A medical malpractice lawyer will hire an expert to evaluate the case in light of the medical chart, and the opinion of a medical professional that malpractice occurred is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. Expert testimony is also needed to prove the causation of damages. The claimant must show their ultimate outcome was significantly affected by the malpractice. Because malpractice cases are complex and expensive, lawyers only accept cases where there are significant damages to pursue.
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in New York State is two years and six months from the date of the alleged malpractice. While this may seem like a long time, medical malpractice cases are often very complex and take a long time to fully investigate. It is crucial that if you think you have been injured by a surgical error that you act immediately.
Suing for Surgical Errors
While doctors are humans and can make mistakes, that doesn’t insulate them from liability for committing malpractice. Surgeons and physicians are expected to provide a the generally accepted standard of care and when they don’t and a patient is harmed, the law allows for just compensation.
Paying for a Lawyer
Attorneys handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee meaning you will only need to pay a fee if the case is successful. Lawyers will also usually pay for an expert review of the chart if there is a theory of liability and significant damages. Initial consultations are always free.