We appreciate all the hard work that medical personnel do. Especially in recent years, we’ve seen the dedication that they have to their work. They are, though, human. That means they can make mistakes. Given the seriousness of the work that they do, mistakes can have tremendous consequences. Those consequences come with significant costs, from medical bills to pain and suffering. Even if they were honest mistakes or the product of bad institutional policy, the responsibility for those costs needs to fall to someone else and not you.
The law does allow you to recover compensation for these costs, but you may have to fight for them. What you’re paid is going to come off of an insurance company’s bottom line, and they tend not to want to part with profits very willingly. You don’t have to fight alone, though. At the Tatum Law Firm, we can fight on your behalf and put forth a strong argument to receive everything that you’re owed.
The first step in a medical malpractice claim is determining who is liable for a situation. Many people might assume that it’s only doctors or medical personnel, but the liability could extend beyond them. Medical malpractice could relate to medical equipment and suppliers or even the policies of medical institutions. Some of the more common liable parties for medical malpractice include:
A medical malpractice claim is a form of personal injury claim, with some slight variations accounting for the unique nature of medical practice. This means, though, that just because a doctor was incorrect, it is not necessarily a sign of malpractice. For something to be malpractice, it must be negligent. That means the plaintiff must be able to show negligence on the part of the doctor. This follows roughly the same process as any personal injury claim, again with some slight adjustments for the unique nature of medical practice. Three elements must be proved to have a case of medical malpractice:
The financial award in a medical malpractice claim is referred to as damages. However, to receive damages, you must be able to show that the injuries from the breach of care are the direct cause of the costs you are seeking compensation for. In other words, you must be able to show that the failure to live up to the standard of care is the reason that you incurred these costs. In most cases, the damages awarded in a medical malpractice claim fall into one of two categories:
There is a third category of damages, punitive damages, that could be given in a medical malpractice case. These are damages that are meant to act as a punishment or deterrent if the action that caused the injury was particularly egregious or malicious. Awarding these kinds of damages in medical malpractice cases is rare. Typically, there would have to be something particularly dangerous about an institutional policy, some intent to harm, or an attempt to cover up the mistake to be awarded punitive damages.
North Carolina is one of only five states in the union to use a pure contributory negligence doctrine. In most other states, if the plaintiff is found to have some share of fault for an injury, then their ability to collect damages is reduced proportionate to the role that they played. In North Carolina, though, if the plaintiff is found to be in any way at fault for their condition, then they will lose all opportunity to collect damages.
It could have a tremendous impact on your case if the defendant can prove your actions had some part to play in your condition. This could result from something as simple as not taking any prescribed medication precisely according to what the doctor ordered. With the possibility of such a devastating option available, the defendant’s lawyers are sure to attempt to argue for this. One of the things your lawyer will be responsible for is defending against these kinds of claims.
One of the important elements of a medical malpractice claim is the statute of limitations. It sets the deadline for when a claim must be filed. In most situations, this is three years from the time the incident occurred. There are only a few exceptions to this deadline. For instance, if you don’t discover the injury until later, there may be a little extra time to file, but no more than four years out from the incident. If there was a foreign object left inside you following surgery, a claim can be filed within one year of the discovery of the object. However, even in this case, a claim cannot be filed after ten years from the original incident.
Generally, it’s better to merely think of the deadline as three years, as the exceptions are rarely applicable. While three years may seem like a long time, given the need to investigate the situation, prepare for a possible case, and negotiate with the insurance company, don’t wait until close to the limit to consider a claim. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the more time they will have to try and get you what you’re owed.
A medical malpractice lawyer can be essential to getting a favorable outcome for your case. At the Tatum Law Firm, we begin by investigating every aspect of your situation to determine where there is potential liability. We gather facts and evidence to support those areas and prepare to argue in your favor. We can also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to see if an agreement can be reached that keeps the case out of court.
However, if court is unavoidable, we can represent you through that process, including arguing malpractice on the part of the defendant and arguing in your defense against claims that you may share the fault. From start to finish, it’s our job to fight for what you’re owed.
We understand how hard it can be when you need medical care, and somehow, your condition is made worse when you seek it. We put a lot of faith in our medical system, and it’s frustrating when it lets us down. People make mistakes, systems are poorly designed, and accidents happen. None of those things, though, negate the responsibility that the parties to blame have. You’re owed compensation for what you’ve had to go through as a result of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, though, you may have to work for it.
The Tatum Law Firm can help. We can take on the entities that are supposed to pay out these claims. We can negotiate with them on your behalf and, if needed, take them to court. After a thorough investigation of your case, we’ll be prepared to establish malpractice on the defendant’s part, defend you from accusations of fault, and fight for every dollar that you deserve. If you are ready to discuss your Charlotte medical practice case with us, then contact us today.