When you visit your doctor, you trust in his or her ability to diagnose or treat you. However, in the medical profession, even a small judgment error or mistake may have serious consequences.
At Shealey Law Firm in South Carolina, our Columbia medical malpractice lawyers understand what goes into building a case against a medical institution or professional and have helped many victims of medical negligence explore their options in the aftermath. Contact us to learn about what legal action you can take.
Who May Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Medical professionals have a duty to do no harm to patients. When a doctor, nurse or another medical professional makes an error that injures you or worsens your condition, a medical malpractice claim may help you secure compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages and related losses.
The strength of a medical malpractice claim depends on your ability to prove that a medical professional deviated from the standard of care when treating you, and that this deviation was the cause of your injury or worsening condition. The “standard of care” refers to the type of treatment a reasonable and competent health care professional would give to another patient in a similar scenario.
A Columbia medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you or a loved one identify who may be liable in a negligence case. These parties might include the following:
- Physicians, nurses and medical specialists
- Hospitals, medical centers and clinics
- Residential treatment facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Medical technicians
- Pharmacists (for medication and dosing errors)
Depending on your situation, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against any of these parties. As well, this is not an exhaustive list of all health care providers who may be liable for your injury.
What Are Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims?
Medical malpractice claims can arise from many different circumstances. However, many of the claims our Columbia medical malpractice lawyers handle fall within one of the following categories.
Research suggests that U.S. doctors make an estimated 7.4 million diagnostic errors every year. Furthermore, about 370,000 Americans either die or experience a permanent disability each year due to medical misdiagnosis. For example, when a physician misdiagnoses, or fails to diagnose, a serious medical condition such as cancer, it may result in the cancer metastasizing and spreading to other parts of the body. When this occurs, it often has a serious impact on prognosis.
Medication, dosing and pharmaceutical errors
Medication dosing errors often have serious consequences. A health care provider or pharmacist may be liable if you or a loved one react adversely when the medical professional administered the wrong medication or an incorrect dose of a prescribed medication.
Malpractice claims may also result from providers mislabeling medications, failing to inform you about medication side effects or prescribing you medications to which you are allergic, among other examples.
Malpractice claims may also arise from surgical errors. Many surgical error claims result from doctors making anesthesia mistakes, leaving sponges or surgical tools behind during procedures, or operating on the wrong part of the body.
Birth injuries may lead to serious, potentially lifelong consequences for mothers and babies. Medical negligence may cause birth injuries if a health care provider offers inadequate prenatal or postnatal care. Malpractice claims may also result from doctors making errors during delivery, failing to use medical equipment properly, performing unnecessary Cesarean sections or failing to adequately plan for complications when delivering babies for high-risk patients.
Every medical malpractice claim is unique. However, if you or a loved one suffered harm because a doctor made any of the errors outlined above, our Columbia medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help you understand your options.
How Is Medical Malpractice Proven?
Not every injury or worsening condition merits a medical malpractice claim. For example, surgical procedures involve inherent risk, and not every surgical injury results from a doctor’s errors.
However, if your injury or worsening condition resulted from a health care provider failing to deliver an adequate standard of care, it may prove worthwhile to pursue a case. The strength of your case depends on your ability to demonstrate that several things are true.
First, you need to prove that the health care provider had a duty to care for you. Then, you must show how the provider or institution failed to follow the standard of care, and that this failure resulted in you suffering serious harm.
If your case has merit, our seasoned litigators may be able to help you demonstrate how the steps your provider took when treating you differed from those other qualified, competent providers would have taken in the same situation.
What Damages Are Available to Medical Malpractice Victims?
When you or someone you love suffers harm because of a doctor or health care institution’s negligence, several types of compensation may be available. You may be able to secure compensation for economic losses, which helps cover medical bills, lost wages due to missed work and related expenses.
Coverage for non-economic losses may also be available. Such losses might include pain and suffering, emotional distress or loss of consortium or companionship. In South Carolina, there are limits to how much you may collect in non-economic damages after proving medical malpractice.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages essentially seek to punish the defendant for his or her negligent actions. To recover punitive damages in a malpractice case, you typically need to prove that a provider’s negligence was intentional in nature.
Get Help From a Columbia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
You have a right to expect a high quality of care when you seek medical treatment. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligent actions of a doctor, health care professional or medical institution, the Columbia medical malpractice lawyers at the Shealey Law Firm may be able to help you pinpoint who is liable, build your case against them and otherwise navigate the next steps.
Contact us online or by phone to discuss your case and see what types of compensation may be available.