Fairfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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If you’re on this page, odds are that something unthinkable happened to you or a loved one.  You may feel angry, grief-stricken, upset, or confused.  You probably have a lot of questions about whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim or need to look for a Fairfield medical malpractice lawyer.

We have answers to all of your burning questions about medical malpractice.  While it is important to seek a compassionate personal injury lawyer in Fairfield, you should also be empowered with as much knowledge as possible to help your family make the right choice.

 

When to Consider a Fairfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer

 

Not all bad medical outcomes are malpractice.  Also, a medical provider being rude or unreasonable is not malpractice.  However, many injuries and deaths are caused by medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is a complex area of law.  In this article, you will learn:

  • What is medical malpractice
  • Myths about suing your doctor
  • Common medical errors that are malpractice
  • How a medical malpractice attorney proves your case
  • How much a Fairfield medical malpractice lawyer costs
  • How long medical malpractice cases take
  • How long you have to file a Fairfield medical malpractice suit

 

What Is Medical Malpractice?

From the days of Hammurabi’s Code in Babylonia, civilized society has insisted on protection from careless physicians. The penalty was much harsher in those days and included acts of vengeance. 

Today, when a doctor’s negligence hurts a patient, the injury victim receives financial compensation through filing a medical malpractice claim.

 

Fairfield Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Explained

A medical malpractice lawsuit is the legal remedy available when a healthcare professional’s failure to adhere to the standards of their profession results in injury to the patient. Simply put, if a doctor fails to do his job, medical negligence has occurred.

Your medical malpractice lawyer will need a similar healthcare professional to testify that the doctor, nurse, or facility departed from the prevailing standard of care in that field. 

A medical malpractice attorney must prove that the negligent doctor:

  1. Departed from the professional standard of care
  2. His departure caused the injury/death
  3. The resulting damages that flow from the injury/death

Is It Wrong To Sue Your Doctor?

 

If you or a loved one were seriously injured or misdiagnosed with a serious illness, you may be experiencing a lot of emotions. You trusted this doctor and don’t know how this could have happened. 

When we seek a doctor’s services or check into a hospital, we assume that those charged with our care will act skillfully and carefully. 

When things go wrong, it’s hard to understand what went wrong and why. The thought of looking for a Fairfield medical malpractice attorney might feel wrong or uncomfortable.

Debunking Common Reasons People Hesitate Suing Their Doctor

Many people are afraid or unsure if they should look into suing their doctor. Here are some reasons you might think of not suing, and why you might want to re-think them.

You Aren’t “The Type Of Person Who Sues.”

It’s true that most people are not “they type of person who sues.” But most people are not injured or killed through medical negligence. 

It is easy to criticize “people who sue” when you are not a victim of medical malpractice. But this is your life. If you were wronged through no fault of your own, it is your right as an American to seek redress in her courts.

You Like Your Doctor.

It is normal to like your doctor, especially if you’ve been seeing him or her for years. They may be a good doctor 99% of the time. 

But on this particular occasion, if they didn’t do their job, malpractice has occurred. Liking someone does not mean you should forego your legal rights.

You Don’t Want To Spend The Time Or Money Going To Court

Medical malpractice lawsuits certainly take time to resolve. But the closure is worth the wait if you or a loved one suffered a serious injury. Most injury victims are not after money. 

While money can help for things like therapy, it is really the closure that people seek. If you fail to pursue a claim, you may regret it forever and never get that closure.

You have nothing to fear about the cost of a lawsuit.  A medical malpractice attorney fronts all the costs of bringing the case and is only paid if they win the case.

Your Doctor May Lose His Or Her License

This is not true. Thousands of doctors have long and successful careers despite being sued for malpractice. 

While it is true that medical malpractice settlements must be reported (confidentially), it is only when there is repeated and egregious wrongdoing that a doctor risks losing their license.

 

Will Your Doctor Admit They Were Negligent?

 

Doctors can be proud people. They have gone through years of training, are highly intelligent, and have incredibly specialized skills. For that reason, doctors rarely admit to making a mistake in their treatment.

You may receive an apology for the poor outcome – “I’m sorry your loved one passed away” – but it will rarely be accompanied with an admission of fault.

That said, some hospital systems, like Yale Hospital, have programs that encourage providers to admit their negligence early on. Yale Hospital’s “Clear Program” is designed to resolve malpractice claims early, before a lawsuit occurs. 

But an admission of fault from a healthcare provider typically only occurs when the negligence is so obvious, that no one could reasonably deny it (like leaving a surgical instrument in a person’s body). 

For that reason, you will probably need to hire a Fairfield medical malpractice attorney to hold negligent medical providers accountable.

Common Medical Errors That Are Malpractice

Surgical Errors

 

Around a quarter of medical malpractice cases relate to surgery errors. 

Surgeries on the wrong body part, instruments, and sponges left in people’s bodies, or performing the wrong surgery can cause damage to people’s organs and even cause death. 

Surgical errors often occur because surgeons are inattentive, rushed, inexperienced, or use the wrong instruments. 

For example, if a surgeon is cutting tissue near the bowel, he must avoid using an electric cautery cutting tool because it can easily burn part of the intestine. A perforated colon leads to sepsis, which can be deadly.

Birth Injuries

 

Obstetricians must act skillfully and quickly in any pregnancy, especially high-risk pregnancies. Applying too much pressure or failing to recommend the right delivery method can lead to disastrous consequences.

Errors during labor and delivery can lead to birth injuries that dramatically affect the child’s life. 

Use of improper tools (forceps, vacuums), failure to administer the right medication (such as labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin), or failure to perform an emergency C-Section in time can all lead to birth injuries.

Common birth injuries include:

  1. Cerebral palsy
  2. Erb’s palsy
  3. Brachial plexus injuries
  4. Shoulder dystocia
  5. Facial nerve palsy or paralysis
  6. Oxygen deprivation (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy)
  7. Failing to treat preeclampsia (sometimes called “pre-eclampsia”) with medication or early delivery.
  8. Failing to treat a prolapsed umbilical cord

Missed Diagnosis

 

Doctors misdiagnosing a medical condition is a common cause of medical malpractice. When a physician or other provider fails to accurately diagnose a condition in a timely manner, the consequences can be severe.

Commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:

  1. Heart attack misdiagnosis
  2. Cancer misdiagnosis or failure to identify a tumor
  3. Missed brain bleeds
  4. Infection misdiagnosis
  5. Sepsis misdiagnosis

Hospital Errors

 

When a person enters a hospital with a serious condition, physicians and nurses must always be attentive to the patient’s needs. 

Because of overcrowded hospitals and overworked staff, patient rounds are missed, nurses fail to show up regularly, and preventable conditions are missed.

Medical error can occur when hospital staff do not appropriately respond to a patient’s deteriorating condition either during surgery or after surgery.

Prescription errors

 

Issuing the wrong medication is inexcusable but happens all too often. Physicians, nurses, and pharmacists must provide the safe and proper dosage of medication. Common medication errors include:

  1. Issuing too strong a dosage (especially drugs like fentanyl)
  2. Providing medication to a patient with a known allergy
  3. Administering medication that leads to anaphylactic shock
  4. Mixing up medications
  5. Prescribing the wrong medication

Anesthesia Error

 

Administering anesthesia is a complex area of medical treatment. Because a patient is asleep while under general anesthesia and cannot describe their complaints, anesthesiologists and their assistants need to be aware of any and all deteriorating or adverse consequences of the anesthesia.

Common anesthesia malpractice includes:

  • Incorrect Dosage
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Harmful drug interaction
  • Delayed anesthesia delivery
  • Failure to intubate or incorrect intubation
  • Failure to properly monitor a patient
  • Failure to look at labs and fluctuations in bloodwork
  • Failure to recognize complications
  • Failure to respond to vital alarms or turning off alarms
  • Improper or negligent administration of oxygen during surgery
  • Communication errors before, during or after the procedure
  • Prolonged sedation
  • Defective equipment
  • Damage from leaked antiseptic fluid like chlorhexidine
  • Failure to sterilize the equipment

How Does a Fairfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer Prove Your Case?

If any law firm tells you that you have a slam-dunk case, they are lying. All medical malpractice lawsuits are difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. 

The standards of proof are higher than a regular negligence case. And the defense law firm fights tooth and nail regardless of how frivolous their defense is.

For medical malpractice cases, Connecticut law requires the following proof:

  1. That the provider departed from the standard of care for similar healthcare providers 
  2. That failure caused injury or death.

Unlike regular negligence cases, medical malpractice lawyers need to hire expert medical witnesses in the same field as the negligent physician to testify that the physician departed from the standard of care.

Fairfield medical malpractice law firms must also show that the injury or death was preventable if the physician adhered to the standard of care. 

For instance, if an oncologist missed a cancer diagnosis, but the patient already had metastatic stage IV cancer and died soon after the misdiagnosis, the physician’s negligence did not cause the patient’s death. He would have died anyway.

A Bad Medical Outcome Is Not Medical Malpractice

Simply because a patient dies or suffers serious injuries does not mean there was medical malpractice. 

If a physician made a reasonable judgment call that did not work out, there is no medical malpractice. You must prove that no reasonable, similar physician would have made the same decision.

A Physician Being Rude Or Disrespectful Is Not Medical Malpractice

 

Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff can be rushed, rude, and disrespectful to your concerns. However, simply acting disrespectfully to you does not equate to medical malpractice. If a physician is ignoring your concerns, they are certainly a jerk, but they are not necessarily negligent.

On the other hand, if the physician ignores a serious medical complaint, then medical malpractice may have occurred.

How Much Are Fairfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer Fees?

A Fairfield medical malpractice attorney will charge 33.33% of your total recovery as their fee. Your attorney will also front the costs of bringing your case but repay themselves with the settlement funds.

Attorneys charge this fee and get reimbursed for costs because medical malpractice claims are extremely expensive. The lawyer typically fronts between $40,000 and $100,000 in expert costs just to get to trial. The lawyer may lose the case and have to eat all those costs.  Therefore, they must be compensated for that risk through the 33.33% fee.

 

How Long Do Medical Malpractice Cases Take?

Medical malpractice claims typically require a lawsuit to be filed. Once the medical malpractice case is filed, it usually takes 3-4 years, and sometimes longer, for a case to settle or go to trial. Even an experienced medical malpractice attorney will not be able to speed up this timeline. 

Thus, you should expect a minimum of 3 years from the date of filing for your case to resolve.

What Is The Deadline (Statute Of Limitations) For Filing A Medical Malpractice Case?

A Fairfield medical malpractice attorney has two years from the date of injury to bring a claim. 

Discovery Rule Exception

However, if you did not discover the injury until later, you have two years from the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury using reasonable care

Statute of Repose

However, you cannot bring a medical malpractice claim more than three years after the medical negligence occurred. This is called the “statute of repose.”

90-Day Extension

If a Fairfield medical malpractice lawyer needs time to investigate your claim and the statute of limitations is approaching, he or she can file for a 90-day extension beyond the two-year deadline. These extensions are automatically granted.

Continuing Care Exception

Finally, if you were under the care of a doctor who treated you continuously after a misdiagnosis or other error, your deadline is two years from when the doctor stopped treating you. This is called the continuous course of treatment exception.

 

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