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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
What Can a Malpractice Settlement Cover?
When someone suffers due to the negligence of a medical professional, the aftermath can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. In Lake Charles, LA, as elsewhere, victims of such negligence may seek recourse through a medical malpractice settlement. It’s a complex area of law, and having a specialized Medical Malpractice Lawyer by your side can significantly affect the outcome of your case. At Delphin Law Offices, we understand the multifaceted nature of these settlements and are prepared to guide our clients through the intricate process of securing what they are due.
Categories of Damages in a Malpractice Settlement
A malpractice settlement can encompass various forms of damages that the victim has suffered. Here’s what a comprehensive settlement may cover:
These are calculable costs directly stemming from the malpractice.
- Medical Bills: This includes costs for immediate and ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and any future medical expenses related to the malpractice.
- Lost Wages: If the malpractice has led to time off work or a diminished earning capacity, these losses can be recouped.
- Future Earnings: In cases of severe malpractice leading to disability, compensation for the loss of future earning potential may be included.
- Non-Economic Damages
These are more subjective and compensate for the non-monetary aspects of a victim’s losses.
- Pain and Suffering: This compensates for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced due to the malpractice.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the malpractice has caused an inability to enjoy daily activities and life pleasures, this damage can be claimed.
- Loss of Consortium: This relates to the impact on the relationship between the victim and their spouse or partner.
Though less common, punitive damages are intended to punish egregious misconduct and deter future negligence.
- Punishment for the Practitioner: These are not tied to the victim’s losses but are a response to particularly harmful conduct.
Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Law Infographic
Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Laws
If you have suffered harm under a medical professional’s care, get in touch with a Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer. Lake Charles, Louisiana, like the rest of the United States, has a legal framework in place to address medical malpractice cases. These laws are designed to protect patients and ensure that healthcare providers adhere to a certain standard of care. Understanding the key aspects of medical malpractice laws in Lake Charles is essential for anyone seeking justice or compensation for injuries resulting from medical negligence.
Statute Of Limitations
One of the critical elements of medical malpractice laws in Lake Charles, as in many states, is the statute of limitations. In Louisiana, a patient typically has one year from the date of injury or the date of discovering the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, this period can be extended for up to three years from the date of the malpractice event.
Standard Of Care
To establish medical malpractice in Lake Charles, it’s necessary to prove that a healthcare provider breached the standard of care. The standard of care is the level of care that a reasonably skilled and competent medical professional would provide in similar circumstances.
In medical malpractice cases, expert testimony is often crucial. An expert witness, typically a qualified medical professional, is called upon to provide insights into the standard of care and whether the defendant healthcare provider deviated from it. As a Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer can confirm, expert witnesses play a pivotal role in helping the court and the jury understand the complexities of medical procedures and practices.
Louisiana has a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages refer to losses that are challenging to quantify, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. The state has a cap of $500,000 on non-economic damages in most medical malpractice cases. However, in cases of severe injury, disfigurement, or loss of bodily function, the cap can be increased to $1 million.
Lake Charles, like the rest of Louisiana, requires healthcare providers to obtain informed consent from patients before performing medical procedures. Patients have the right to be fully informed about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of any proposed treatment. Failure to obtain proper informed consent can lead to medical malpractice claims.
Hospitals in Lake Charles can also be held liable for medical malpractice if they employ or contract with negligent healthcare professionals. This is known as vicarious liability. To hold a hospital responsible, it must be established that the negligent healthcare provider was acting within the scope of their employment or contract with the hospital.
Settlements And Arbitration
Many medical malpractice cases are resolved through settlements or arbitration rather than going to trial. Settlements involve an agreement between the injured party and the healthcare provider or their insurance company, while arbitration is a process where an independent arbitrator makes a decision that may be binding.
If you have been hurt under a medical professional’s care, you may want to schedule a meeting with a Lake Charles medical malpractice lawyer. At Delphin Law Offices, we want to help you get the justice you deserve.
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
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice
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
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lyme Disease
- Heart Conditions
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
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.
Delphin Law Offices PLC Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Lawyer
626 Broad Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601
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