Birmingham, AL, Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Everyone trusts that their healthcare practitioner has their best interests in mind and will follow a minimum standard of care to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Unfortunately, healthcare practitioners can make mistakes, and medically negligent mistakes can dramatically affect your life and health.
If you suspect you may have been the victim of medical malpractice in Birmingham, schedule a free consultation with a member of our team at McCallum, Hoaglund & McCallum LLP at (205) 824-7767 today. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys can help put together a case while you focus on your recovery.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
It’s important to note that not all unsatisfactory medical treatments or experiences are examples of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is when the healthcare provider fails to provide a particular “standard of care.”
Alabama law defines the standard of care as the level of care, diligence, and skill expected of every healthcare practitioner with a similar education and experience history. For instance, if a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis based on test results and their intuition, it may still fall under a reasonable standard of care if most other doctors would make the same diagnosis under the same circumstances.
Your medical malpractice lawyer will be able to help you distinguish between genuine medical malpractice versus an honest, if unfortunate, mistake.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Each medical malpractice claim has several major components, and your attorney must be able to provide enough evidence for each component. The two most important components are:
- Showing that the healthcare practitioner’s actions fell outside the standard of care: Not all medical mistakes are due to negligence. Your attorney must show that the practitioner failed in providing the industry standard of care and was negligent in discharging their duties.
- Linking your injuries to the practitioner’s negligence: It’s not enough to show that the practitioner failed to meet the requisite standard of care; clear evidence must exist to show that your injuries are a direct consequence of the practitioner’s negligence.
Proving negligence can be challenging. Most medical professionals have medical malpractice insurance to protect them against malpractice claims, and these insurance companies will fight fiercely to protect their clients’ reputations and their bottom line.
Insurance companies rely on intimidation and other underhanded tactics to cover potential mistakes and deny their responsibility or to minimize the final settlement amount.
The key to a good medical malpractice claim is strong evidence. That’s why most law firms have investigators who are skilled in medical malpractice. These investigators work with expert witnesses and healthcare providers to gather enough evidence to develop the case.
Injuries Associated with Medical Malpractice
One of the worst things about medical malpractice injuries is that they occur on top of the existing healthcare conditions the victim was seeking treatment for. Medical malpractice affects an individual’s health and well-being, but it also increases hospital and treatment costs and may have life-altering consequences.
Medical malpractice can happen at any stage of the diagnosis or treatment process, resulting in a staggering array of medical malpractice injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Loss of control over bodily functions
- Adverse reactions to medications
- Damaged nerves, tissues, or organs
- Heart attack
- Life-threatening infections
Medical Malpractice Damages
Medical malpractice injuries can put a tremendous financial burden on victims. Not only do they have to deal with additional medical costs but also with lost wages and potentially the loss of ability to earn in the future.
Medical malpractice damages consider financial and non-financial costs associated with the injury. Financial costs often include:
- Additional medical expenses and treatments
- Lost wages
- Costs related to disability, such as installing a wheelchair ramp in the home
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Non-financial damages take into account pain and suffering, loss of companionship, trauma associated with disfigurement, or permanent injuries.
In exceptionally severe cases, the judge may also decide to award punitive damages. These damages serve as a punishment to prevent other healthcare practitioners from making the same mistakes again.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
While some medical malpractice mistakes are extreme and obvious, such as removing the wrong organ or misdiagnosing an obvious condition, others can be more subtle while still having devastating consequences.
Misdiagnosis is when the physician makes the wrong diagnosis, subjecting their patient to unnecessary medical treatments. These treatments often come with their own risks, and a misdiagnosis results in patients undergoing these potentially dangerous treatments to no benefit.
A missed diagnosis is when the physician takes too long to come up with a diagnosis, potentially delaying life-saving treatments. By the time the patient gets their correct diagnosis, they may need more aggressive treatments or have to deal with a worse prognosis.
Surgery is always a risky procedure, and negligence in the operating theater can have devastating consequences. Failing to adhere to sterile technique protocols can cause life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infections, while ignoring other protocols can result in surgeons performing incorrect procedures on patients.
Surgical errors can also lead to mistakes in the delivery ward. Birth injury refers to any injury sustained during childbirth, and incorrect delivery procedures can result in newborns with broken bones or more severe injuries.
Prescribing medication requires that the physician fully understand the impact of the drug and its interactions with other substances. Common prescription errors include:
- Wrong doses
- Ignoring potential contra-indications
- Failing to identify medication interactions
- Prescribing medication to the wrong person
Work With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Law Firm
Physicians and other healthcare professionals have a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to their patients. Failing to do so can have severe consequences for the victims, often resulting in life-altering injuries and prolonged hospital stays.
Medical malpractice claims are often complex due to the specialized nature of medicine, which is why it’s vital to have a medical malpractice lawyer on your side. At McCallum, Hoaglund & McCallum, LLP, we are proud to serve Birmingham residents in their quest to restore their lives after a medical malpractice injury. Call us at (205) 824-7767 to schedule a free consultation today!
LaBella S. McCallum
Has nearly four decades of courtroom experience.
Charles A. McCallum, III
Knows business issues, big and small.