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West Hartford Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The doctor-patient relationship is not only trusted but often seen as sacred; the American Medical Association’s ethical code even refers to it as a moral activity. That said, a doctor (or any other healthcare provider) betrays that trust and violates their ethical duties when they injure you through incompetence, careless, or unskilled treatment.

These medical errors can cause significant losses. You may need corrective treatment to fix your doctor’s mistakes and this might lead to facing extended downtime to recover from the doctor’s mistake and additional treatment. 

Not all medical errors constitute medical malpractice — unfortunately, adverse outcomes can result from sound medical treatment — but when an error constitutes negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer from Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge will stand up to healthcare providers and malpractice insurers to fight for the injury compensation Connecticut law entitles you to recover.

What Is Medical Malpractice, and How Is It Proven?

Connecticut law does not give a precise medical malpractice definition, but statutes referencing these types of cases describe a medical malpractice lawsuit as one that involves a claim for damages for injury or death arising from the negligence of a healthcare provider

Claiming that medical malpractice has occurred requires that some kind of error takes place, but the error alone is generally not enough; your medical malpractice lawyer must prove four elements to establish negligence.

These four pillars of proof are as follows:

Duty of Care

The concept of one’s duty of care is derived from the doctor-patient relationship, which exists almost anytime you see a doctor for medical advice and treatment. 

That said, a few situations where it might not arise include the following:

  • Talking to a doctor in a social setting, like a party
  • Speaking preliminarily to a doctor who refuses to treat you
  • Communicating between doctors inquiring about providing care

You must show that a doctor intended to provide medical care to you (or their patient), even if only for a limited purpose, such as first aid during an emergency. When the duty exists, the healthcare provider must meet the professional standard of care.

Breach of Duty

A breach occurs when a provider fails to meet their professional standard of care, which requires doctors to provide the same level of care that any other reasonably competent, skilled, and prudent doctor would provide if faced with the same situation.

The professional standard is objective, which means your medical malpractice law firm will not need to prove the doctor intended to harm you or was even aware of the mistake; instead, it will only need to prove the doctor should have understood the need to do things differently.

Causation

In medical malpractice cases, two causes of causation are often involved: First, the breach of duty must be the cause-in-fact of the victim’s injury; in other words, your attorney must show a factual link between the doctor’s action or inaction and the injury suffered by the patient.

Secondly, the breach of duty must comprise a type of action or inaction that could foreseeably cause an injury; the doctor does not need to foresee the patient’s precise injury, but any other reasonably competent physician must be able to see how the doctor’s negligence would likely injure or kill the patient.

Damages

The damages sustained from an instance of medical malpractice include both economic and non-economic losses. 

Economic losses include hard costs, such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Income lost due to missed work
  • Diminished future earning capacity caused by long-term or permanent disabilities

You and your lawyer can value these losses using financial records that document your past losses and project your future losses.

Non-economic losses cover all the ways your quality of life suffered after your injuries. Examples of non-economic losses include the following:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Dismemberment

By definition, these losses do not have inherent value, so you will likely testify about the severity and duration of your injuries; in response, the jury or claims adjuster will need to use that information to put a value on your non-economic losses.

Examples of Medical Errors That Could Constitute Medical Malpractice in West Hartford, CT

As mentioned, breaches of duty typically involve some form of medical error. These errors fall into three categories:

Diagnostic Error

Diagnostic errors occur when a doctor provides an incorrect explanation for the cause of your medical problems in one of these three ways: a misdiagnosis, a false positive, or a non-diagnosis.

A misdiagnosis will result in you receiving the wrong treatment; for instance, a doctor might incorrectly diagnose appendicitis as indigestion, potentially leading to a ruptured appendix and peritonitis.

Following a false positive, you will likely receive unnecessary treatment; for example, a doctor might mistakenly diagnose your strained shoulder as a torn rotator cuff and perform unnecessary surgery on it.

Lastly, a non-diagnosis — in which a patient is deemed healthy when they are, in fact,  not — will result in them not receiving any treatment for their condition, which, in turn, could shorten their life or even kill them. A doctor might fail to diagnose cancer, for instance, causing it to spread unchecked.

Treatment Error

Treatment errors happen when doctors provide substandard treatment. Examples of treatment errors include:

Regarding that last point, nurses who forget to rotate patients can indirectly cause bedsores and blood clots, administrators who call in prescriptions incorrectly can cause an adverse drug event, and nursing assistants who fail to check dressings can allow an infection to arise.

Communication Error

Communication errors happen when patients suffer injuries due to incorrect information. Some examples of communication errors include the following:

  • Records mixups
  • Incorrect information shared between providers
  • Mistaken instructions provided by your doctor
  • Failure by your doctor to disclose possible complications and side effects

Communication errors do not necessarily involve a doctor, but if their staff negligently handles communications, the hospital or medical practice employing them may bear vicarious liability for any resulting injuries.

Process for Medical Malpractice Cases in West Hartford, CT

Medical malpractice cases start with a notification to the doctor, who will notify their malpractice insurer, which will then contact your medical malpractice attorney, who will prepare a claim explaining what happened and the losses it caused.

The insurer then assigns the claim to an adjuster for investigation. If the adjuster accepts the claim, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurer to try to settle your case, which usually involves a payment of money in exchange for a legal release.

If the adjuster denies the claim, your lawyer will work to overcome the denial by submitting additional evidence and arguments. When adjusters persist in their denials, patients can file lawsuits. Before filing a lawsuit, your lawyer must obtain a written opinion from a similar healthcare provider stating that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence.

Medical malpractice cases go to trial if the insurer refuses to settle, and that is where your lawyer will present your evidence and argue for a damages award.

How it Works

Contingency Fees

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, P.C., we handle all Medical Malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today. Contact us online or call our New Haven law firm directly at 203-865-8430.

Questions

Medical Malpractice FAQs

How Much Does a West Hartford Medical Malpractice Attorney Cost?

Personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee to handle medical malpractice claims. Because of the complexity of these claims, the fee is usually 33 and ⅓% of the recovery plus costs incurred on your behalf.

How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Claim for Medical Malpractice in CT?

In Connecticut, the medical malpractice statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury; however, that time cannot exceed three years after the negligent act or omission.

What Happens if My Loved One Dies From Medical Malpractice?

The executor or administrator of a deceased patient’s estate can pursue a claim for wrongful death, which will entitle the estate to the same kind of damages as a medical malpractice case, as well as funeral and burial expenses.

Discuss Your Case With West Hartford Lawyers for Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex and contentious you can experience. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer from Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge to discuss how we will stand up to doctors and insurers for you.

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