Experienced Malpractice Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice
Serving the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia Areas
Medical malpractice is a complex area of law, especially since doctors may not tell their patients when something goes wrong. Many victims have questions, both about what happened to cause their injuries and what to do next. At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP, our medical malpractice attorneys have been helping victims nationwide for more than 30 years. We work hard to protect our clients’ rights, and to find answers about their injuries or loved one’s wrongful death.
Below, our Washington DC malpractice lawyers answer some of the most frequently asked questions about medical negligence.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an action or a failure to act by a physician, nurse, specialist or other medical professional that negatively affects your health. However, not every mistake or medical injury may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to proceed with a case, you must have evidence that your doctor did not meet the standard of care of a competent physician.
For example, some surgeries inherently have a high risk of complication. If your doctor first informs you of these risks and a complication arises, this is likely not medical malpractice. However, if you sustain further injuries beyond the scope of the known risks of a procedure, you may have a medical malpractice case.
What are some examples of medical malpractice?
Medicine is a broad field, so many different behaviors may constitute medical malpractice. Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis, which could delay crucial treatment or result in the administration of unnecessary and harmful medication.
- Failure to conduct the appropriate medical tests.
- Birth injuries resulting from a physician’s negligence.
- Wrongful death due to medical negligence.
- Spinal cord injuries resulting from delayed treatment, lack of supervision or other negligence.
- Failure to diagnose cancer, impending heart attacks, appendicitis, or other common conditions.
- Traumatic brain injuries resulting from lack of supervision, surgical errors or other mistakes.
- Failure to treat a medical condition in a timely manner.
- Medication and pharmaceutical errors.
How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
To recover compensation in a medical malpractice case, you must show that:
- The doctor owed you a duty of reasonable care. Usually, this means that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the physician.
- This duty was breached by a doctor or medical professional. Generally, medical experts compare your doctor’s actions to those of another, qualified physician. If you doctor did not provide the same level of care as expected, this is likely medical negligence.
- That breach resulted in an injury to you. Sometimes medical mistakes might be frightening, but no actual injuries result. In these cases, you likely do not have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- You suffered emotional or financial losses as a result of that injury. Sometimes, only minor injuries result from medical negligence. In order to file a medical malpractice case you must prove actual losses for which you deserve compensation. Otherwise, you probably do not have a lawsuit.
What compensation am I entitled to receive?
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be able to receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Funeral and related expenses (if a wrongful death case)
- Pain & suffering
- Punitive damages
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Each state has its own statute of limitations, which is the time you have file suit. The statute of limitations typically begins to run on the date of the injury. However, in some cases it may begin when you discover the injury. Additionally, for medical malpractice cases involving wrongful death, the time limit begins on the date of death.
If you have been injured, you should immediately contact malpractice attorneys in Virginiato determine how long you have to file suit. Certain statutes of limitations our medical malpractice and injury attorneys commonly encounter are as follows:
- Washington, D.C.: Three years for injuries or wrongful death resulting from medical negligence,
- Virginia: Two years for injuries or wrongful death.
- Maryland: Three years from the discovery of the medical injury of five years from the date of injury, whichever is less.
How can I afford to hire medical malpractice attorneys?
The investigation and litigation of medical malpractice cases are often expensive. Your medical negligence lawyer must pay for your medical records and history, as well as fees for medical experts and other investigators. However, Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P offers contingency fee arrangements.
This means that you pay nothing upfront for the cost of the investigation or representation. If our malpractice attorneys succeed in obtaining a successful verdict or settlement for you, then we take our fees as a percentage of the award. On the other hand, if your case is unsuccessful, you owe us nothing.
I am not sure I have a case. How can medical malpractice attorneys help me?
If you have been injured due to a doctor’s actions, you should consult a Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney. Our law firm offers free initial consultations, which means that you can find out if you have a case and get your questions answered at no cost and without obligation.
You may not want to bring a claim against your physician, especially if he or she has been your doctor for a long time. However, everything you discuss with your personal injury attorney will remain confidential and a case will be brought only if you decide it should be. If medical negligence caused your injuries, contact one of our malpractice lawyers today for an initial consultation.