If you or a loved one suspects that your injuries may have been caused by the negligence of a doctor, hospital or other health-care provider, you owe it to yourself to have someone knowledgeable and experienced to thoroughly investigate your case. At Meinhart, Smith & Manning, we have many years of experience investigating and pursuing medical malpractice cases.
A Harvard Medical Practice Study (1990) found that each year, more than 180,000 people die from causes that at least partially include medical mistakes. However, the same study found that medical malpractice rates in the U.S. are estimated to be 97% greater than the number of claims pursued by victims of medical negligence.
In plain English? This means that most victims of medical malpractice don’t pursue their valid claims, which permits bad doctors to continue providing substandard care without any repercussions. This also implies that the cost of medical mistakes rests almost exclusively on the victims of malpractice and their families, who are held responsible for the care and expenses incurred as a result of these often disabling and permanent injuries, rather than the offending physician or hospital. The costs to the victim’s insurance company may be a significant factor driving up premiums for all subscribers. Malpractice is bad for everyone!!!
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical negligence occurs when a physician or medical care provider fails to do something that should have been done, or does something he/she shouldn’t have, and as a result the patient was harmed. An effective medical malpractice lawsuit requires a significant investment of time and resources to identify which medical professionals, if any, are ultimately responsible for your injury. Doctors can make mistakes, and we hold the responsible parties accountable. We represent injured persons in such cases as:
- Failure to diagnose or treat an illness or injury
- Emergency room errors
- Surgical errors
- Brain injuries
- Wrongful death
- Hospital negligence
- Nursing home negligence
- Adverse drug reactions
- Wrong prescription
These types of cases require special investigation and care. Oftentimes, experts are engaged to determine the true source of the injury and who is at fault. What might appear to be a surgical error could instead be the fault of a nurse, radiologist or another healthcare professional, or a combination of errors. Careful investigation by experienced attorneys and relevant experts is crucial in any medical malpractice case. We help people throughout the state of Kentucky, so even if you are unable to travel to our offices, we can come to you.
Important: There is no time to waste in pursuing a medical malpractice claim. In Kentucky there is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
We urge you to contact us immediately if you suspect that you or a loved one may have suffered from a serious injury due to medical malpractice or hospital negligence.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
“First do no harm.” As previously stated, malpractice is bad for everyone. A doctor or medical caregiver who fails to meet the standards of care should be held accountable. Malpractice victims should be encouraged to pursue valid claims in court. There are a number of pro-active steps malpractice victims and their families can take to preserve the facts and protect their interests.
If you or a loved one believes that a medical mistake has been made, ask the physician or medical care provider what happened, and do not give up until you are satisfied that all your questions have been fully answered. You are entitled to complete disclosure and access to all of your health records, and the caregiver has an ethical duty to tell you the truth. You have a right to a complete explanation about any treatment or care provided as well as a right to be properly informed in advance of all the risks and benefits of any procedure. These conversations can be referenced in official court proceedings.
Get Your Complete Medical Record
Get a complete copy of your entire medical record immediately, and demand certification or an affidavit from the records custodian that nothing has been omitted or removed from the chart. The sooner you obtain your records, the less likely there is to be any unauthorized modifications by providers, which could help them dispute your claim.
Keep a detailed journal or notes with all the names and dates involved in the care and injury. Health care facilities such as hospitals may engage in delay tactics or resist providing relevant information including the names of relevant witnesses such as attending staff, hospital roommates, etc. Having these names and dates documented will not only help you recall the facts, but it will improve your chances of contacting important witnesses later if needed. Also make note of your injuries and the consequences, such as daily pain or limited mobility.
Document Using Pictures and Video
Take pictures or videos of any visible injuries or consequences of the care provided. In addition to copious notes, photographic evidence is hard to discount. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and a photograph showing the severity of an injury due to medical malpractice communicates in a way that nothing else can. It may be years before your case goes to trial, and by then, visual evidence of injuries may have faded. Even worse, when the victim dies, the evidence is gone forever. Therefore, although it may be emotional and distasteful to do, it is critical to take pictures of the injury and its consequences. Failure to do so may diminish the availability of critical evidence showing the pain and loss experienced by the victim, giving the responsible parties an additional opportunity to undermine your claim by suggesting that the harm was less severe or even insignificant.
Find an Experienced Attorney
Don’t try to go it alone. You should find and retain a qualified attorney to investigate your claim as soon as you suspect malpractice. Make sure you choose an attorney who has been a lead counsel in jury trials of medical negligence cases before. Also, it pays to investigate whether the lawyer has any special board certifications or writes or lectures on medical malpractice. Interview any prospective attorney to make sure you are comfortable with his or her ethics and demeanor. Most importantly, look for an advocate who lets you know all of your options.
The choice of a malpractice attorney is one of the most important ones you can make. Call Meinhart, Smith & Manning at (877) 776-1219 to discuss your case. There is no charge for a consultation, and there are no fees unless we earn a favorable settlement or win your court case.