Medical errors and malpractice are a serious issue in the United States. In 2016, a Johns Hopkins comprehensive study on medical errors estimated that 250,000 deaths each year can be attributed to such errors. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) provides a more conservative estimate of 98,000 deaths annually due to medical negligence.
No matter which estimates you use, there are too many preventable deaths and even more injuries happening at the hands of medical practitioners in our country. If you have suffered such an injury, contact a professional medical injury attorney. A Newburgh medical malpractice lawyer could help you or a loved one who is suffering due to medical malpractice.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can happen in nearly all settings and sections of healthcare, it does not always involve surgical errors or a misdiagnosis. Anytime a medical professional’s negligence causes an injury or loss, the patient may have a compensable claim. Common medical malpractice causes are based on one of the following categories:
- Misdiagnosis – this is the most common type of physician error and it can be the deadliest
- Negligence affecting pregnancy and childbirth – common examples of negligence in this specific area of medicine include preeclampsia, hemorrhage, placental abnormalities, surgical negligence during a Caesarian section, and premature babies
- Mistakes in prescribing or administering medication – the doctor could make a prescribing error, pharmacy staff could make an error in dispensing, and nursing staff could make an error in administering the drug
- Surgical errors – nerve damage, uncontrolled bleeding, anesthesia errors, and leaving a foreign body inside the patient are common errors in the operating room
Anyone with questions about whether a healthcare professional’s actions constitute malpractice should ask a knowledgeable Newburgh medical malpractice lawyer. They can help evaluate a potential claim.
Compensation for Injuries in Newburgh
The state of New York does not cap the amount of compensation a victim of medical malpractice can receive. This decision is left up to the jury to decide. Compensation is commonly awarded not just for medical expenses but also for other damages such as lost wages, future income losses or reductions, loss of companionship and consortium, and pain and suffering.
However, to potentially receive compensation individuals must file their suit in no later than 30 months after the medical malpractice event occurred as per New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 214-a, Consulting with a Newburgh medical malpractice lawyer today can help patients determine what they may be eligible to receive in a successful lawsuit.
There are two different categories of compensation that are available through a medical malpractice lawsuit: economic and non-economic damages. Each of these types of damages can combine to make up substantial financial compensation in a malpractice case.
Economic damages can be objectively measured. These measurable losses are often proven at trial with documentary evidence like cancelled checks, invoices, or paid receipts. This allows a plaintiff to provide evidence of the exact dollar amount they are owed in economic compensation.
There are different example of economic losses. For medical malpractice cases, the most common example is medical bills. This includes not only the cost of treating the injuries resulting from the malpractice but also for any complications for the underlying medical issue that was improperly treated. Lost wages are also economic losses and it is possible to measure the amount of wages lost by reviewing prior employment records.
Compared to economic damages, proving non-economic damages can be more challenging. These losses are subjective, making it impossible to establish their amount using documentary evidence. When medical malpractice cases go to trial, the court will decide the amount of non-economic damage awards based on witness testimony.
Compensation for pain and suffering is the most common form of non-economic damages. There is no objective way to place a dollar value on a person’s physical pain. Everyone endures pain in a different way, and the inability to measure pain makes this type of compensation non-economic. That said, juries often make pain and suffering damage awards based on a person’s medical bills. In many cases, a jury will make a pain and suffering award that is a multiple of the plaintiff’s medical expenses. The right medical error lawyer in Newburgh could properly argue for the inclusion of certain intangible losses in the lawsuit.
The Certificate of Merit
One unique aspect of medical malpractice cases is the certificate of merit, which does not exist in most other personal injury claims.
The certificate of merit is a type of legal document written by a medical professional, certifying under their professional opinion that the malpractice claim has merit. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that only legitimate injury claims are taken up by the court.
Typically, an attorney must file the certificate of merit along with the malpractice lawsuit or risk having the case dismissed by the court. However, there is an exception that allows the plaintiff to attach the certificate at a later date. If the statute of limitations is looming, the plaintiff can receive an additional 90 days following the filing of the lawsuit to include the certificate.
The certificate must set out one of two things. One option is for it to establish that the plaintiff’s attorney consulted with a licensed physician and that the physician concluded there is a reasonable basis for pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Alternatively, a certificate can say that after three good faith attempts with different physicians, the attorney was unable to meet the requirement of consulting with a medical expert.
Speak with a Newburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney
A Newburgh medical malpractice lawyer should have the experience to evaluate your case for its merit and to individualize a legal game plan for you. An attorney understands how frustrating and painful life can be if you are a victim of medical malpractice.
However, you do not have to suffer in silence anymore. A well-versed medical malpractice attorney could discuss your circumstances and inform you of any legal rights you may have. If you decide to pursue your legal rights, an attorney can dedicate themselves to the possibility of justice in your case. Call today to find out more.