Below are some frequently asked questions about medical malpractice or medical negligence claims. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Medical Malpractice summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.
Medical Malpractice occurs when the conduct of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, dentists, pharmacists, and nursing home staff, falls below the “standard of care,” or the level of care that similarly situated medical professionals are supposed to provide to their patients. Simply put, when treating patients, medical professionals are expected to do what a reasonable physician would do under the same or similar circumstances. Medical negligence claims most commonly result from mistakes by professionals during surgery, childbirth, amputation, and administration of anesthesia, misuse of medications, implants, or medical devices, failure to diagnose an illness or render proper treating following a correct diagnosis, and a professional’s failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent for treatment.
If your health insurance company has covered any of the costs of treatment associated with your injury, it will likely have a right to reimbursement under the terms of your insurance policy. Many health insurance providers have subrogation rights, or rights to pursue third parties who cause loss to their insured for which the health insurance company has paid. Generally, medical expenses incurred as a result of medical negligence and paid for by your insurance carrier will be reimbursed by the at-fault party’s insurance provider or from any settlement recovered from the at-fault individual.
In medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs generally may be able to recover damages for economic loss, non-economic loss, and physical impairment. Economic damages include compensation for past medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s negligence, future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, impaired earning capacity, and related out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages on the other hand are intended to compensate the injured party for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconveniences associated with the incident in question, and emotional distress. Compensation for physical impairment and disfigurement may be awarded for physical disabilities, scars, loss of limb, burns, etc.