Category Archives: Medical Malpractice

How Long Do You Have to Sue a Doctor?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whenever you believe you have grounds to take legal action against another party for civil damages, you must first ensure you meet the statute of limitations for your claim. A statute of limitations is essentially a time limit for filing legal claims. Different statutes exist for different types of claims, and the laws concerning these statutes vary from state to state.

A medical malpractice claim is a complex civil action that typically requires a claim review from a medical board before it can proceed, and symptoms from some medical conditions or injuries may not immediately appear. If you are unsure whether your claim will meet the required statute of limitations for your situation, your Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer should be able to help you determine when your statute of limitations started.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?

The justice system recognizes that injured people cannot always take legal action immediately following an injury. In some cases, an acquired injury or illness may not manifest any noticeable symptoms for a long time, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact date a medical condition appeared. However, the justice system also recognizes the need for a system that discourages frivolous or outdated claims that use valuable time and resources. Therefore, a claimant who wishes to take legal action against a medical professional must do so within the appropriate statute of limitations for his or her state. In California, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is three years on the date of harm or one year from the date of discovery of harm.

Discovery Rule for Medical Malpractice Claims

The earliest date that a statute of limitations can begin for an injury claim is the date that harm occurred. This applies when the injury or illness is immediately noticeable, or the cause of the injury is immediately apparent. Several things may “toll” or delay the statute of limitations. The Discovery rule applies to cases involving symptoms that develop over time, or medical conditions that do not immediately display the full scope of harm.

Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations may begin on the “date of discovery,” or the date the symptoms of harm became visible or noticeable. The court may also apply this statute to the date that a plaintiff should have noticed or discovered the harm with reasonable diligence. For example, if a person experienced stomach pain after a surgical procedure but did not notify anyone or see a doctor for several weeks, the statute would likely begin on the date his or her symptoms appeared and not the date of the diagnosis or the date of the surgery.

It’s important to remember that many states place a statute of repose on medical malpractice claims. These statutes function as hard time limits for taking legal action. For example, a state may have a 10-year statute of repose for medical malpractice claims. This means that a plaintiff must discover the harm from medical negligence and take legal action within 10 years of the date of injury, not the date of discovery. In California, the only exception to the three-year statute is for cases involving foreign objects left in a patient’s body during surgery. These cases must still meet the one-year statute under the discovery rule, but claimants may take legal action many years after the normal three-year statute has passed.

A medical malpractice lawsuit is a very complex legal matter that requires meeting various legal deadlines and filing requirements, so time is a critical factor for anyone who wishes to pursue a medical malpractice claim. A Bakersfield personal injury attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases can help you determine whether your claim meets the applicable statute of limitations for your situation.

Posted by highrank at 9:32 pm

How to File a Complaint Against a Doctor in California

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

When another person causes an injury or other damages, you can pursue a personal injury claim to recover your losses. However, if the person who injured you was a doctor administering medical treatment, it’s first vital to determine whether medical malpractice occurred. A medical malpractice lawsuit will follow a similar framework to a personal injury lawsuit with a few notable exceptions. In California, a medical malpractice claim will need to pass through the Medical Board of California before you can proceed with your lawsuit.

Starting Your Medical Malpractice Claim

It’s important to remember that medicine is an inherently uncertain field. New treatments show promise for a variety of conditions, and medical science has advanced tremendously in recent years. Individual reactions to medical conditions and diseases can differ greatly as well. A margin of error always exists in medicine, and even an accomplished, skilled, and competent medical professional can make an honest mistake.

The Medical Board of California reviews medical malpractice claims to determine whether the claimant has grounds for a lawsuit. Essentially, the medical board reviews the details of the claim to determine if the defendant in the claim failed to meet the acceptable standard of care for the patient’s situation. If the board finds that the plaintiff has grounds for a medical malpractice claim, it may investigate and press charges, if necessary. Approval from the medical board is one of the most important requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim in California.

Standard of Care

The medical community reaches consensus for known medical conditions to decide the best methods for treating those conditions. New treatments, medications, and therapies require thorough testing before the medical community can rely on them on a regular basis. The “standard of care” is the level of treatment the medical community recommends for a condition. If a physician fails to meet this standard of care or deviates from the standard of care without justification and harms the patient, the physician commits medical malpractice.

It’s important to note that medical negligence does not necessarily equate to medical malpractice. Medical negligence describes a deviation from the standard of care, while medical malpractice describes a deviation resulting in patient harm. It’s possible for a defendant to have committed medical negligence without committing medical malpractice. If the patient did not suffer any harm from the defendant’s negligence, there is no claim.

The Medical Board of California also investigates claims pertaining to sexual misconduct, the administration of medical treatment under the influence of drugs or alcohol, substandard medical care, improper prescription practices, unprofessional conduct, and office practice complaints. It’s possible for a medical malpractice claim to touch on many of these issues, so the Medical Board’s investigation will be critical to a subsequent lawsuit.

The Claim Process

Once the Medical Board of California receives your complaint and determines that the claim falls within its jurisdiction, it will mail you an acknowledgment of receipt of your claim. A medical board analyst may contact you to request documentation related to your claim or to release some of your medical records. Once the board has your complaint and the necessary documentation, a medical consultant will review the complaint to determine whether the claim has grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

No one can predict how long the claims process will take. Each case has many unique factors that may complicate the process. The board’s responsibility is to investigate any claims of medical professionals violating the standard of care for their patients and pursuing administrative action against those professionals if necessary. Once you know that the defendant in your claim violated the standard of care in your treatment, an experienced Bakersfield medical malpractice lawyer can help you build your case and take your next steps toward recovery.

Posted by highrank at 8:30 pm

Can I Sue a Doctor for Prescribing Wrong Medication?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Medications can be powerful tools to help treat medical conditions, but improper usage can also lead to further complications – especially with prescription drugs. When improper medicines, dosages, or even combinations of medications come into play, a patient may suffer a further decline in health, or even a wrongful death. If the fault rests with the prescribing doctor, is it possible to sue? Read on to learn more or consider speaking with a Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney.

Prescription Errors as Medical Malpractice

Prescription errors can be a form of medical malpractice, in which a healthcare professional’s negligence leads to harm or damages to a patient. As a type of personal injury case, a medical malpractice claim consists of three major factors:

  • The doctor had a duty of care to the patient
  • The doctor breached that duty of care
  • The breach caused the plaintiff harm

In terms of prescription errors, the doctor has a duty of care to provide you with reasonable treatment. Prescribing the wrong medication (which can have severe consequences) is the breach of that duty, and any resulting harm that resulted from that prescription error may be eligible for compensation.

The complication that can arise from these cases is proving the duty of care and the breach. Often, the plaintiff will accomplish this by bringing in an expert witness that can testify and establish a reasonable standard of care, which serves as a comparison point for the doctor’s actions. In many cases, a doctor may be at fault if he or she:

  • Prescribes an incorrect medicine
  • Prescribes an incorrect dosage
  • Prescribes a medication that has known negative side effects with a patient’s other medications
  • Prescribes a medication that triggers a patient’s known allergies
  • Prescribes a medication that does not help the medical condition and causes the patient’s condition to worsen
  • Does not make clear the instructions for correct usage
  • Writes a prescription that a pharmacist may misread

Another important point of this type of case is that the error must have caused some form of harm. For example, if you picked up your prescription from the pharmacist and recognized the dosage was incorrect before taking any, you would not have a claim. The same would hold true even if you took the incorrect dosage and experienced no side effects.

Other Potentially Responsible Parties for Prescription Errors

While the doctor is often the first person you may consider suing for your prescription errors, he or she is not always the responsible party. Pharmacists, nurses, and manufacturers are all potentially liable for a prescription error. In some hospitals, the medical institution may be liable for any errors made by its staff. Additionally, a patient can be partially at fault if he or she is not open about his or her medical history when consulting with healthcare professionals.

With so many potentially liable parties for a prescription error, it’s essential to have skilled legal help on your side – both to correctly determine the at fault party and to meet strict filing requirements. Inaccurately filing your claim can be the difference in between a successful case and a lack of compensation. With the investigation resources and expert contacts of a law firm, you increase your chances of receiving compensation for the prescription error.

California law sets the statute of limitations for most medical malpractice cases to one year after discovery of injuries or within three years of the date of the injury. This strict timeline applies to prescription errors and means that you may waive your right to compensation if you do not file promptly. It’s in your best interest to hire an attorney the moment you discover the damages caused by the error.

If you’re uncertain if you have a medical malpractice case due to a prescription error, talking with a Bakersfield lawyer can help you understand your rights and learn if you’re eligible to receive compensation.

Posted by highrank at 9:52 pm