Delphin Law Offices PLC

Medical Malpractice Lawyer Lake Charles, LA

Medical Malpractice Lawyer Lake Charles, LA

Every doctor who makes the decision to practice medicine understands there is always a risk of being sued for medical malpractice. This is why physicians carry malpractice insurance. Although they are all at risk, there are some medical specialties that have more malpractice lawsuits filed against them than other areas of medicine. If you live in Louisiana and think you are a malpractice victim, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Lake Charles, LA.

The rate of malpractice lawsuits may be shocking to many people. For example, national statistics show that in the past decade or so, about 60 percent of the doctors in this country have been sued in the latter third of their medical career. Some of these doctors were the only defendant in the lawsuit, while others were of several defendants named.

This experience often makes an impact on the way a doctor will consider how they will treat a patient and the choices they make when it comes to making a diagnosis. A doctor who has gone through the malpractice process can either be overconfident about their treatment methods or may shy away from those treatments, depending on the outcome of the lawsuit they were involved in. One of the most common causes of these medical malpractice lawsuits is failure to diagnose, making up the highest percentage of malpractice lawsuits.

A Lake Charles, LA medical malpractice lawyer knows that another variable has to do with whether or not a patient is seeking inpatient or outpatient treatments. The number one cause of inpatient medical malpractice lawsuits is surgical errors. This is followed by errors in pregnancy and/or delivery. It has also been established in these studies that families are more likely to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if their child has been injured.

The two most common types of doctors sued for malpractice are obstetricians/gynecologists (OB-GYN) and general surgeons. Both of these areas of medicine have a high rate of failure to diagnose, as well as abnormal injury. These are also the two most common reasons to sue for malpractice. Failure to diagnose is especially common in OB-GYN lawsuits, where conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cancer, and more often go undiagnosed until the condition has caused major health issues or even death. 

Another reason why these two areas of medicine are most often sued is that it is difficult for an OB-GYN or a surgeon to practice defensive medicine. Defensive medicine is where a doctor orders tests or treatments that are designed more to protect the doctor from liability than they are for an actual diagnosis.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER LAKE CHARLES, LA

COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

When doctors and other medical professionals act negligently when caring for patients, their patients can suffer harm as a result. Unfortunately, medical mistakes occur quite frequently in the U.S. Here are the most common types of medical malpractice cases:

  • Medication mistakes. Prescription medications can treat a wide range of injuries and health conditions, helping people live longer lives. However, if these medications are taken incorrectly, patients can suffer serious side effects. Common types of medication mistakes include prescribing the wrong medication, failing to ask about allergies, and prescribing the wrong dosage.
  • Misdiagnosis. Many medical malpractice claims result from misdiagnosis. Doctors can incorrectly diagnose patients if they fail to recognize symptoms, order additional testing, or lost test results. When patients are misdiagnosed, they may receive unnecessary treatments and not receive timely treatment for their actual condition.
  • Surgical errors. Surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a health condition or injury. However, if surgical staff do not follow proper procedures or are careless in some other way, mistakes can happen. Common mistakes that can occur during surgery include operating on the wrong body part, leaving a surgical instrument inside the body, operating on the wrong patient, and injuring a nerve.
  • Childbirth injuries. Medical errors can happen during the labor and delivery process too. Newborns are in danger of suffering birth injuries from failure to recognize fetal distress, improper use of forceps, wrapping the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck, and failure to perform a C-section when necessary. Common birth injuries from negligence include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus, facial paralysis, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Hospital infections. Patients who go to hospitals for treatment expect to come out feeling better. Unfortunately, however, that does not always happen. If things aren’t sanitized properly, patients are in danger of suffering life-threatening infections. To prevent infections, hospital staff must clean and disinfect surgical instruments, wash their hands and use double gloves during surgical procedures.
  • Anesthesia errors. Anesthesia is necessary for certain surgical procedures to ensure a patient’s comfort. However, if the anesthesia is not administered properly, it could have life-threatening results. Common anesthesia errors include administering too much anesthesia, administering too little anesthesia, failing to monitor patients, and keeping patients under anesthesia for too long. Patients can suffer serious injuries from anesthesia errors, including brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and heart attacks.

Some Of The Reasons Why Medical Malpractice Is Such A Common Occurrence

As a medical malpractice lawyer in Lake Charles, LA patient’s trust can confirm, that medical mistakes and other forms of medical negligence occur at a shocking rate of frequency. A now-famous study released by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine concluded that medical errors are the third leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. This disturbing statistic does not account for all of the non-fatal medical errors that occur daily and have the ability to impact victims’ lives forever.

Although there is no single reason why medical malpractice is such a common occurrence, the knowledgeable legal team at Delphin Law Offices PLC can attest to several root causes that contribute to this public health and safety issue.

One: Mistakes Aren’t Always Immediately Obvious

Have you ever made a mistake that you did not realize was a mistake until much after the fact? Physicians and other medical professionals are humans. As a result, they make mistakes from time to time. Medical mistakes are, in this way, inevitable.

Sometimes, a mistake is immediately apparent because someone is either immediately aware of the fact that they misstepped or because a consequence occurs as a result of the mistake immediately. However, in the medical context, mistakes aren’t always obvious immediately after they occur. Sometimes, a patient must get much sicker or must suffer in some specific way before it becomes obvious that something has gone wrong.

Two: Medical Providers Aren’t Always Forthcoming

Medical professionals are aware of the fact that if they make a mistake and are careless in some way that does not live up to the standards set for them by their profession, they can be sued. As a result, many individuals fear speaking up and being honest with their patients in the event that something has gone wrong, because they do not want to risk legal liability. This phenomenon not only keeps patients who have been injured in the dark but also perpetuates a culture in which it is largely acceptable to remain quiet when something goes wrong. There is, therefore, a lack of accountability and a lack of opportunities to learn from others’ mistakes.

Three: Staffing Issues Are Safety Issues

As the Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer team at Delphin Law Offices PLC can confirm, many instances of medical malpractice occur at facilities that are understaffed. Staffing shortages are inconvenient everywhere. However, they can be truly dangerous when they occur in medical care contexts. If patients don’t have access to enough nurses and doctors or if patients must wait an unreasonable amount of time for care, test results, medications, etc. mistakes tend to happen more frequently. This makes sense, given that medical care cannot be properly provided if two few medical professionals are available to provide such care.

As a Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer with our firm can explain in greater detail, staffing-related medical malpractice suits often name the understaffed facility itself as a defendant liable for the harm that a patient has suffered.

5 COSTS A SETTLEMENT CAN COVER

Following a medical malpractice lawsuit, you might qualify for one or more categories of damages: 

  • General: These damages refer to factors that can’t easily be calculated and don’t carry a specific dollar amount. 
  • Special: Some damages are easier to calculate and while there might still be some guesswork involved, special damages often carry a specific dollar amount. 
  • Punitive: While general and special damages are designed to make a victim whole, punitive damages are used to further punish the responsible party. 

We’ll now explore some specific examples of damages in more depth: 

  1. Medical Expenses

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the victim should be compensated for past and future medical expenses. Unfortunately, medical malpractice often results in a patient needing further treatment, whether to correct what should have already been properly corrected, to correct issues caused by the medical malpractice, or both. This category also includes expenses like physical therapy. 

  1. Lost Wages 

Any injury compounded with inadequate medical care can cause a patient to miss significant work time. However, the victim will still need to cover expenses like rent and groceries. A medical malpractice settlement can help award at least some of a person’s lost wages while they recover. In some cases, job rehabilitation might be included instead, i.e. an injury renders a person unable to work at their previous job, but they can still explore employment elsewhere. 

  1. Wrongful Death 

Sometimes medical malpractice can directly or indirectly cause a person to die. While nothing can bring back a victim, wrongful death can compensate a victim’s family and pay for funeral expenses. Wrongful death can also offer compensation for general damages caused to a victim’s family. 

  1. Examples of General Damages

As stated before, general damages are much harder to calculate and generally don’t carry an exact dollar figure. These factors are often subjective and some examples may include compensation for: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress, including the development of disorders like PTSD 
  • A reduction or complete loss in the enjoyment of life 
  • Reduced earning capacity 
  • Blow to one’s reputation 
  • Temporary or permanent disfigurement

Each case is different, and various elements can impact the amount awarded. For example, a younger patient who will have long-term impairment might be awarded more monetary funds due to having long-term needs and a dramatic reduction in earning power. 

  1. Punitive Damages

Lastly, we’ll explore punitive damages in more depth. While punitive damages are far rarer, they can be awarded occasionally. The rules can vary between states, but typically punitive damages are awarded when a doctor or healthcare facility intentionally caused harm to a patient. An example might include a doctor knowing they left a sponge in a patient’s body and not bothering to remove it. Another example could be a healthcare facility intentionally using defective equipment. The exact amount of punitive damages is determined by the jury or judge, and typically can’t be several times more than the special or general damages awarded. Punitive damages can also be used to make an example out of someone or a facility to deter future action from similar parties. 

Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Law Infographic

COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES Infographic

Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Law Statistics

According to U.S. Government’s National Practitioner Data Bank new data, Louisiana has 3.4 medical malpractice lawsuits per 1,000 people

Filing Deadlines for Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claims

The time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana is one year. Louisiana laws do not provide more time limits for malpractice cases involving minors. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:5628(B)

Common Questions: Medical Malpractice And Failure To Diagnose 

When victims suspect that they have received negligent care from their provider, they should determine the proper course of action with a medical malpractice lawyer, Lake Charles, LA victims can trust and rely on. It should be no surprise that cases of this nature are highly complex. A competent legal team will be necessary because of their many resources and to help strategize the case to yield the best outcomes possible. Failure to diagnose is one form of medical malpractice that patients may experience. A team like those from Delphin Law Offices can assist with this process and provide answers to some of the specific legal questions victims will have about their cases.

What is failure to diagnose?

When doctors provide treatment to their patients, they are responsible for ensuring they receive a proper diagnosis. When a doctor fails to uphold the medical standard of care throughout this process, it may be because they have failed to diagnose, misdiagnosed the patient, or there was a delay in diagnosing the patient. There are several reasons this may occur when receiving treatment from a healthcare provider. As mentioned, medical professionals can make errors when treating patients that can ultimately cause harm to them. As a result, victims may suffer severely when they do not receive the necessary care.

What are the common types of failure to diagnose cases?

Some reasons for cases of this nature include inaccurate lab results due to human error, incorrectly reading lab results, failing to provide an accurate diagnosis, not spending enough time with patients, or not correctly assessing the patient’s condition. As a result of these actions, the victim’s health may deteriorate further, and in some cases, the damage done can be irreparable. As a Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer will share, common types of failure to diagnose cases may include:

  • Types of Cancers
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stroke
  • Sepsis
  • Heart Conditions
  • +More

What is the burden of proof in medical malpractice cases?

When bringing forth medical malpractice cases, victims hold the burden of proof. The burden of proof is the legal standard required, ultimately determining whether the claim is valid by supplying evidence supporting the claim. The burden of proof is required in civil and criminal cases, but the standards vary. In civil suits, plaintiffs must prove that based upon the preponderance of the evidence that the malpractice was more than likely to have occurred than not.

What will need to be present to prove damages in a failure to diagnose case?

Proving failure to diagnose in medical malpractice cases requires that the plaintiff show that the medical professional in question failed to uphold the medical standard of care. If they had been under the supervision of another provider with similar experience, the outcome would have been different. In order to do so, four key elements must be present:

  • Patient-Doctor Relationship
  • Negligence
  • Causation
  • Damages

What is the statute of limitations for these types of cases?

As with any personal injury claim, strict deadlines must be adhered to. One of the most important is the statute of limitations, which is the length of time upon the date of the injury or discovery of the damage that victims have to file a legal case against the responsible party. In Louisiana, taking immediate action is essential because the statute of limitations is only one year. However, speaking with a lawyer regarding specific case factors is vital because some situations may allow for an extended timeframe.

Schedule an immediate case consultation to learn more about how our Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer from Delphin Law Offices assists victims with their cases.

Delphin Law Offices PLC Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Lawyer

626 Broad Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601


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Call Our Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Law Firm For Help

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, call Delphin Law Offices PLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Lake Charles, LA medical malpractice lawyer and find out what legal recourse you may have against those who are responsible for your injuries and losses.

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