Alabama Medical Malpractice Cases
Jasper Medical Malpractice Attorney
When a medical professional's treatment falls below the acceptable standard of care and causes injury or death to the patient, in the medical community, it is considered medical malpractice.
In medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff is generally the patient, or they are a legally designated party acting on behalf of the patient or in the case of a wrongful death suit, the plaintiff is the executor or the administrator of the deceased patient's estate. The defendant is the doctor or the health care provider and this may include surgeons, doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists and therapists to name a few. Malpractice claims can also be brought against hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations on behalf of the medical errors made by their employees.
Need an attorney for your medical malpractice case in Walker County? If you believe that you have fallen victim to medical malpractice, our Walker County personal injury lawyer will review your case at no charge!
Establishing Negligence in a Case
In order for a plaintiff to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim against a medical professional or hospital, first they must prove four elements:
- The health care provider had a legal obligation to care for the patient. A legal duty exists whenever a health care professional takes care of a patient.
- That duty was breached and the health care provider failed to provide the standard level of care.
- The breach was the proximate cause of injury.
- There must be damage (losses) in order for there to be a basis for the claim.
In medical malpractice cases, the burden of proof is on the patient to prove these four elements, and in most cases it's necessary to bring in witnesses to provide expert testimony. Expert witnesses must be qualified as an expert in the medical malpractice case, meaning that person must have sufficient knowledge, education, training and experience regarding the specific issue being addressed before the court.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Unfortunately, medical errors and medical mistakes are more common than medical professionals would like to admit. All too often emergency room doctors, surgeons and nurses work long hours and on too little sleep. The problem is that even if such medical professionals have the best intentions, all it takes is one mistake, and that one mistake can have deadly consequences for the patient. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice include:
Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
This is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. A doctor can misdiagnose a serious condition or they can prescribe treatment or surgery for a condition that doesn't exist. Emergency room doctors can be rushed and fail to notice the warning signs of a life-threatening condition. An inadequate examination or a failure to order the proper tests can cause a deadly condition to go unnoticed, thus causing it to advance to life-threatening and irreversible stage.
Surgical errors can involve operating on the wrong organ, accidentally damaging or puncturing a nearby, healthy organ, or otherwise performing the procedure very poorly. Surgical errors can also involve leaving a sponge or another surgical instrument behind inside the patient's body. Complications from surgical mistakes can cause the patients to experience lengthy post-operative care, irreparable damage and possible death.
Prescription Drug Errors
Medication errors can occur almost anywhere in the drug chain. An anesthesiologist can administer too little medication causing the patient to wake up during surgery, or they can administer too much which can kill the patient. The doctor can prescribe the right medication but the nurse gives the wrong drug to the patient, thus causing a deadly drug interaction, or the pharmacist can dispense the wrong medication to the patient at the pharmacy. The patient can be harmed when they take a medication prescribed for a misdiagnosed condition, or in the hospital setting, the right drug may be given to the wrong patient altogether all because someone made an error on the patients' charts.
Walker County Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Need a lawyer for a medical malpractice case in Jasper? In Alabama, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claims is covered under Alabama Code §6-5-482 which states that all actions against physicians, surgeons, dentists, medical institutions, or other health care providers for errors, liability, mistakes, or failure to cure must be commenced within two years of the act, or omission, or failure giving rise to the claim. However, if the cause of action could not have been reasonably discovered within that time, then within six months from the date of the discovery or the date of the discovery of the facts leading to the discovery, whichever is earlier, but not longer than four years. In cases where the victim was a minor under the age of four, then the minor has until their eighth birthday to commence an action.
To find out if you have grounds to commence a medical malpractice action, please contact a Jasper medical malpractice attorney from Warren & Associates, LLC today.