Did a medical error cause you or your loved one serious injury or death?
We put special trust in doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals when we are sick or injured. In turn, they often strive to do the best, most professional job they can. But sometimes, they fail in their duties, or are negligent and can put your or a family member’s life at risk. Medical malpractice and medical errors relating to healthcare are the third leading cause of death in the United States, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, Sand Law’s experience attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What is Medical Malpractice?
When a provider of healthcare delivers medical treatment that falls below the accepted standard of care in the medical community and puts a patient at risk of injury and death. When these thresholds have been met, the medical provider has committed medical malpractice and can be held liable for resulting injuries and other losses. Some examples of this conduct can include:
- Anesthesia errors – using an incorrect anesthesia, the wrong dosage of a drug, failing to monitor vital signs or act upon changes in vitals, or using faulty anesthesia equipment
- Surgical errors – using the wrong instruments, operating on the wrong organ or area of the body
- Emergency room errors – misreading charts, missing cardiac symptoms that result in a heart attack, delaying a diagnosis, or giving the wrong medication
- Hospital malpractice – failing to properly evaluate employee credentials, making an inaccurate diagnosis, neglecting patients, failing to send patients to a correct specialist, or performing pointless surgeries
- Medical Device Errors – defects in the manufacturing of a device, a failure of a design in the device, inadequate warnings on equipment, misuse of device by hospital employees
- Misdiagnosis – failing to listen to the patient and take into account all of their symptoms, failure to recognize symptoms that are obvious signs of serious problems, a failure to examine and take into account a patient’s family and medical history to identify hereditary problems, or ordering improper tests
- Postoperative negligence – If a doctor fails to monitor a patient after a major surgery or treatment, and a harmful condition arises because of this, this can also count as a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some of the condition that can arise because of this can include viral infections, sepsis, internal bleeding, surgery site infections, blood clots, respiratory infections, or necrotizing fasciitis.
- Other assorted types of medical malpractice include malpractice resulting from specialist care, such as chiropractors, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, or psychiatrists.
Defining Medical Negligence
Medical negligence is the failure to behave with the same level of care that someone of in a similar position would have exercised. Medical negligence usually relates to some action, but it can also refer to inaction, like failing to administer a drug or treatment when it would have potentially saved a patient’s life.
The 4 elements of medical negligence are:
- the healthcare provider had a legal duty to the plaintiff
- the healthcare provider breached (or failed to meet) that duty
- the victim suffered an injury or death
- and that injury or death was a direct cause of the provider’s breach of duty
In a medical malpractice case, it is often to prove that the healthcare provider has a duty to their patient, but is much harder to prove the healthcare provider breached that duty, since medical care is so subjective and often based on many different factors.
Medical Malpractice that Leads to a Wrongful Death
- A human being died;
- Negligence caused the death, or the intent to cause harm caused the death;
- The surviving family members now suffer monetary injury because of the death, and;
- There is a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
A few common examples of the circumstances that wrongful death claims arise from include the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Criminal behavior
- Automobile or plane accident
- Occupational exposure to hazardous substances or conditions
- Death during a supervised activity
Proceeding with a Minnesota Medical Malpractice Case
Minnesota law requires a medical malpractice lawsuits to have something known as a “Certification of Expert Review” which can make filing a med mal case in Woodbury and through Minnesota a little difficult. Minnesota’s law regarding medical malpractice can be found here: Section 145.682.
Basically, almost any claim or lawsuit regarding malpractice or a medical error or mistake requires the plaintiff’s attorney to file an affidavit stating two things:
- that the details of case have been reviewed thoroughly by both the attorney and a qualified medical expert
- that at least one or more healthcare providers deviated from the accepted medical standard of care and that deviation caused an injury or death
Although this often required in most states, it is usually not required to be filed at the beginning of the lawsuit, as it is in Minnesota, making things a little more difficult.
The injured victim’s attorney must also file an affidavit known as an “Identification of Expert” that states which medical experts they plan on using along with a summary of their opinion.
Failing to submit the “Certification of Expert Review” and or the “Identification of Expert” affidavit will almost certainly cause the judge to throughout your medical malpractice lawsuit before it even starts.
Because of this, it is important to have an experienced team of Medical Malpractice Attorneys working on your side that have the resources and networks to get the job done correctly and effectively.
Minnesota Does Not Have a Medical Malpractice Damages Cap
Minnesota currently has no cap on medical malpractice damages, including on compensation for non-economic damages things like pain and suffering. This means injured patient can recover for all their financial losses.
The types of economic losses a medical malpractice victim can seek include:
- medical expenses, both present and future
- lost wages lost as a result of the injury
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- loss of life’s everyday pleasures (like sex, holding your children, etc)
A medical malpractice or medical negligence attorney will help you navigate the process of compiling information about your case and seek the damages you are entitled to, including punitive medical damages aimed at deterring others from engaging in malicious medical malpractice.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Woodbury
If you believe you have a case to make for a medical malpractice claim, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced lawyers at Sand Law LLC. We can be reached online through our contact form or by calling 651-571-4125. Our experienced team will help you take your case to court and get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at Sand Law LLC who have extensive experience practicing and writing about the law in Minnesota. The information in this article comes from this hands-on experience along with extensive research. For information about the author of this page, view our attorneys’ bios.
SAND LAW LLC
7650 Currell Blvd Suite 3140
Woodbury, MN 55125