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How Do You Know When You Need A Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
When a Hospital or medical provider fails you in their duty to provide adequate care, you may need a medical malpractice lawyer to act on your behalf. Doctors, nurses, EMT’s and other medical professionals around North Carolina are among the best and most highly reputed in the nation, but that doesn’t mean that they never make mistakes. These mistakes commonly cross over between different medical disciplines so it can be difficult to locate where the mistake was made or who made it. Commonly, medical malpractice suits uncover errors made during admission to a facility, marking and categorizing a patient, injury misdiagnosis, administering medication likely to conflict with existing prescribed medication, problems made during anesthesia, inadequately followed procedures for sterilization and hygiene, improper intubation and ventilation and much more.
Common Reasons People Avoid Making a Claim
1 – Quite often patients survive a procedure only to suffer a prolonged recovery due to errors made somewhere along the treatment path. It may never occur to some people that there’s an actual issue of malpractice when, finally, the patient is discharged from facility care.
2 – If a patient dies as a result of a surgery or other procedure, it’s rarely clear to anyone whether the sustained injury or illness was the cause of death or some act of negligence by the facility or care provider. Grieving family are generally ill-equipped to ask the right questions or make important decisions that might uncover a potential case of medical malpractice leading to wrongful death. Even if malpractice is suspected, moving from a suspicion to contacting an actual medical malpractice lawyer during a time of deep grieving, may simply be too much to contemplate.
3 – The patient and visiting relatives often form a close personal bond with care providers, as such it can be difficult to question their professionalism or any other aspect of the care they provide. Although actual cases can be very complex, and determining culpability quite protracted, the concept of malpractice is quite simple. A healthcare provider must provide treatment of an acceptable standard across all areas of their operation, from patient intake to discharge and everything in between. When the treatment provided by the facility falls below the accepted standard of care in the medical community, their patients are placed at risk of injury and potentially death. As with any professional industry there are clear dictates to follow and where a healthcare provider fails to act in such a way where others with similar training would have acted, then the medical professional and/or medical facility may be considered ‘negligent’ and liable for any resulting injuries to the patient.
Negligence can be either an act of commission or omission, where commission is the actual application of a direct action and omission is a failure to carry out or perform an act. Therefore omission may be considered a neglect of duty, thus a case for medical neglect and malpractice.
Who Would I File Suit Against, The Hospital Or The Doctor?
It’s not unusual for Doctors to run their own private medical practice while using the facilities provided by his or her area hospital. In these cases the Doctor is not a direct employee of the hospital where you may be having a procedure, thus the hospital usually can’t be held liable for the negligent actions of doctors who are not on their staff.
There are circumstances where a Doctor, nurse or other support staff such as a anesthesiologist, may be a hospital employee or may be acting with the “apparent agency” of the hospital. In these cases, if a medical malpractice attorney can prove that the culpable or negligent party was represented to be an agent of the hospital, then the patient may be able to sue Doctor and sue the hospital also.
Why Work With Kellum Law Firm?
- 40+ years representing North Carolina residents in medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Your Local Law Firm with 10 locations including Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, Raleigh and more.
- Free No Obligation Consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
Percentage of medical malpractice cases settled out of court.
WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF SETTLING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE OUT OF COURT?
Over 90% of medical malpractice cases are settled out of court.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A CASE?
Under North Carolina law you have three years in which to file an medical malpractice suit, from the date that the injury occurred.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SETTLE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
Medical malpractice cases generally take longer to settle than typical personal injury or accident claims, as out-of-court settlements usually occur later in the litigation cycle..
Generally if a malpractice case is not settled before suit, it can be estimated that between one and two years will elapse between filing suit and the case actually reaching trial. Our experienced malpractice attorneys will be working for a pre-trial settlement to be agreed upon, thus avoiding the potentially lengthy trial process and the risks of not achieving an adequate settlement.
WHAT IF I'M PARTLY AT FAULT?
As noted in the article on this page, establishing negligence and culpability in a medical malpractice suit can often be difficult. Furthermore, North Carolina law operates under the doctrine of what is termed “Pure Contributory Negligence”.
Pure Contributory Negligence
If it can be proven that the plaintiff was partially responsible for causing their own injury, then they are barred from receiving any damages in the case. Clearly this places a considerable burden on the injured party to ensure nothing done on their part lead to their injury or prolonged period of recovery. Refusing a certain type of treatment post-surgery, without sufficiently sound medical reasons, may be an important factor. As might be failing to implement a post-surgery rehabilitation as instructed by the medical practitioner.
So it’s important to talk with a medical malpractice attorney as early as possible in the process, whilst all of the facts of the case are still fresh in the mind of the injured.