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Personal Injury Law: Defining Negligence

If you have been harmed by someone else’s wrongdoing, you may be able to hold the at-fault party accountable in a court of law, thus enabling you to receive compensation for the injuries and lost wages you suffered as a result of the wrongdoing. The legal doctrine of tort law allows you to sue someone for negligence if you suffered personal injury as a result of his or her conduct. Here are the four steps to proving negligence in a personal injury case:

You Were Owed a Duty of Care

The first step to defining negligence is showing that the person who wronged you owed reasonable a duty of care now to harm you. This means the duty to not do something that a reasonably prudent person would not do. For example, a doctor owes a duty of care to his patient and can be held responsible for providing subpar care or for acting in a reckless or careless manner.

The Duty Was Breached

Once you show that the at-fault party had a duty to keep you safe, you must have proof that the duty was breached. In medical malpractice cases, for instance, this can be shown through evidence of surgical errors or other mix-ups.

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Each year, about 4 million babies are born in the United States. However, 24,000 of them suffer from birth injury. What accounts for birth injury? And how to recognize birth injury? The Rich Firm will explain them to you.

birth

   Leading Causes of Birth Injuries

A birth injury is defined as any type of damage or trauma sustained by an infant just before, during, or after birth. This includes a broad spectrum of injuries, including anything from lacerations or bruising caused by trauma during the birth to nerve or brain damages caused by complications such as breech births or oxygen deprivation. Birth injuries can result as the product of natural factors, but unfortunately, medical malpractice is a large contributor. In many cases, the infant will fully recover within weeks, though damage incurred during birth may be permanent or even fatal. These are some of the leading causes of birth injuries.

Infant Size

When a baby is either very large or very small (especially in the case of premature births), injuries become more likely to both child and mother. In the case of large babies, common injuries include bruising or scarring due to the use of forceps and partial paralysis in the shoulder or face due to pressure on the nerves of the child during birth. Continue reading →

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Though many doctors are brilliant, they’re still human. Even the most prestigious medical professionals are prone to all of the same mistakes as anyone else–only their mistakes cost lives. Though you shouldn’t hesitate to visit a skilled medical professional whenever you get sick, you shouldn’t trust them blindly, either. Here are a few tips for protecting yourself or loved ones from medical errors and a look at how a medical malpractice attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve in the event that an error occurs.

Visit a reputable provider
Before you set up a medical appointment, you should make sure that your health care provider has a good reputation. If a particular hospital or clinic is notorious for botched surgeries or frequent misdiagnoses, you should move on. HealthGrades.com is an excellent resource that can help you find a skilled doctor.

Double and triple check
Many people assume that their doctors know best. Though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you shouldn’t hesitate to remind your doctor about any allergies or pre-existing conditions that may complicate your treatment. It is also a good idea to get second and third opinions when the diagnosis is severe or when a radical treatment is suggested.

Always ask questions
As your doctor explains a diagnosis or goes over a surgery plan, you’ll probably have dozens of questions racing through your head. Instead of assuming that your doctor has thought of everything, you should never hesitate to ask these questions, no matter how silly they seem. One of your questions could bring a potentially life-saving matter to your doctor’s attention.

Hire a lawyer
Unfortunately, every conceivable precaution isn’t always enough to prevent a costly medical mistake. Still, you can protect yourself from extreme medical bills by hiring a skilled medical malpractice attorney. Together, you and your attorney can investigate a medical error and pursue a lawsuit that will hopefully end with a substantial settlement.

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Birth is the most important moment in a person’s life. Not only is it the beginning, but it’s an extremely delicate process that requires utmost care on the part of the attending medical professionals. If a doctor mishandles a child during the birthing process, that child may end up with a serious condition that plagues him throughout his entire life. Cerebral palsy is one such condition. Here’s a brief look at cerebral palsy and its effects.

Causes
Most cases of cerebral palsy occur when a child’s brain is deprived of oxygen before, during, or shortly after childbirth. Children who are born prematurely make up nearly half of all cerebral palsy cases–mainly because their lungs aren’t fully developed. However, some cases of cerebral palsy are caused by negligence on the part of an attending physician.

Types
There are three main types of cerebral palsy: spastic, ataxic, and athetoid. Spastic cerebral palsy occurs in the vast majority of cases, and is due to a neuron lesion in the brain. Ataxia and athetoid cerebral palsy are less common but have more severe effects on sufferers’ motor skills.

Effects
Cerebral palsy compromises connections between the cortex and other parts of the brain. As a result, the sufferer often experiences problems moving certain parts of his body. Cerebral palsy also affects communication, sight problems, memory problems, and a number of other functions of the mind and body.

Treatment
Though it is impossible to cure cerebral palsy, the right treatment can make the symptoms bearable. Unlike other cognitive ailments, cerebral palsy is not progressive, and the effects can become manageable through several types of therapy. For example, a person with cerebral palsy may learn to talk through speech therapy.

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The Prevalence of Medical Malpractice and What You Can Do if Affected by It
Medical malpractice exacts a heavy toll on the patient who suffers from it. Many times that individual cannot recover from a health care provider mistake, and their loved ones are left to grieve and seek damages with the help of a wrongful death lawyer. To learn more about medical malpractice and wrongful death claims, visit the following resources from around the Web:

• The elderly are often at risk of medical negligence and suffer the most because of their existing poor state of health. ABC News discusses on one such case wherein the older hospital patient died as a result of incorrect medication.

Nursing home abuse also continues to grow in this country. CBS News explains this unfortunate and common circumstance.

• Though no amount of money can make up for a loved one’s untimely death, judges and juries are beginning to recognize the widespread nature of medical negligence and punishing these careless health care providers accordingly.

• Medical malpractice is growing to dangerous proportions. Citizen.org lists key medical malpractice facts.

• A medical misdiagnosis can severely impact a patient’s ability to recover from their ailment or disease. Science Daily reports on the significant negative affect this circumstance has on individuals.

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Mistakes made by those in the medical field often have serious and life-altering repercussions. Instances of medical malpractice are surprisingly common and issues can arise from what would otherwise be a normal procedure. Learn more about surgical errors and birth injuries with these informative links.

• As The New York Times reports, surgical errors are on the rise in the United States.

• Medical News Today details how medical facilities are trying to lessen the number of retained surgical instrument cases.

• The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains Erb’s palsy, a detrimental condition that often results from injury during birth.

• The Mayo Clinic describes cerebral palsy, which can result from medical negligence.

Birth injuries constitute a common cause of medical malpractice. Right Diagnosis details how they often occur.

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Incorrect medication constitutes one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. In the most severe cases, the wrong medication can prove fatal, especially for older patients who already suffer significant health concerns. If you or a loved one has been harmed by incorrect medication, consult with a medical malpractice lawyer to determine your options. In the meantime, here is an overview of medical malpractice claims regarding incorrect medication and a look at how a lawyer can help you receive the financial restitution you deserve for your pain and suffering.


How do I know that I have been given an incorrect medication?

In some circumstances, the doctor or medical facility may admit that medication was improperly administered or prescribed to the patient. You will also know that you have been given incorrect medication if your condition worsens or you experience new symptoms unrelated to the condition you were being treated for. In either case, a medical malpractice attorney can help see that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help me?

A medical malpractice lawyer will be able to determine from medical reports and the patient’s own testimony if an incorrect medication has been administered. In such cases, the medical malpractice attorney will file a suit to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you are entitled to for your pain and suffering. This compensation will also be helpful in the event that you have further medical bills as the result of incorrect medication.

What kind of compensation can I receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit?

A medical malpractice lawyer can seek damages for the medical treatment needed to address the injuries caused by the incorrect medication. A lawyer can also ask for lost wages for the client, as well as medical rehabilitation costs and mental pain and suffering. The best way to determine what kind of compensation you can receive is to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer today.

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More times than not, you know about an injury the minute it happens. However, there are some injuries that take months or even years to reveal themselves. As you can imagine, this makes medical malpractice claims somewhat complicated. For example, you might not realize that your doctor prescribed the wrong medication until you develop a serious ailment years later. Luckily, Washington D.C. law explicitly addresses such situations.

Statute of limitations

Like most other jurisdictions, Washington D.C. abides by a series of statutes of limitations that determine how long after an injury individuals may file personal injury lawsuits. Here, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years after the date of the injury. In other words, you cannot file a medical malpractice suit if you wait longer than three years to file.


The discovery rule

If you weren’t aware of an injury until well after the date it occurred, you can still file a medical malpractice suit in some cases. According to the discovery rule, the limitations period doesn’t begin until an individual actually discovers the injury. This is a complicated component of a medical malpractice claim, so be sure to consult with an attorney to go over your options.

Discovering an injury

Since the results of many medical decisions take years to reveal themselves, the discovery rule is especially important in the case of medical malpractice suits. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer that remains dormant in the body for four years, the patient can file a medical malpractice suit for three years after the cancer is discovered.

Filing a lawsuit

If you discover an injury that you believe to be a direct result of an existing medical decision, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. A skilled attorney can greatly improve your chances of a substantial settlement or a court ruling in your favor.

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The truth is that learning more about victims rights in medical malpractice, product liability and other personal injury cases better enables you to protect yourself and to choose the right lawyers to represent you or a loved one in a medical malpractice or other case. Take the time to educate yourself on these terms, issues of interest and legal cases by looking through these resources.

• According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of Americans are now taking at least one prescription drug.

• The Institute for Safe Medication Practices provides a partial list of prescription drugs with easily-confused names.

• In medical malpractice, the plaintiff must show that the doctor’s actions were a proximate cause of his condition.

• The recent DePuy hip replacement recall is an example of a design defect leading to a product liability lawsuit.

• If you need to obtain a police report in Washington, D.C., just follow these simple steps.

Terry Paul Smith received a prescription with incorrect dosing information and died as a result. Read more about this tragic story in this news article.

Medication errors may happen more than the public realizes. Many lawsuits regarding such errors are settled out of court, and plaintiffs are forced to sign confidentiality agreements.

• Head over to WebMD.com to learn more about concussions.

• Johnson & Johnson’s heartburn medication Propulsid was the subject of a major lawsuit in the early 2000s because of its deadly side effects.

• To learn more about malpractice, check out this definition from LectLaw.com

We hope these resources were helpful to improve your understanding about your legal rights and entitlements in your prospective medical malpractice or other case.

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Legal Terminology That May Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you’ve been the victim of a mistake by a medical professional, you deserve compensation for any injuries that may have resulted. To obtain this compensation, you may need to file a medical malpractice suit, which will include the following terms and concepts:

• Standard of care. This term refers to the level of skill and treatment considered appropriate by most medical professionals. In a medical malpractice suit, the plaintiff seeks to prove that his or her physician did not provide a proper standard of care, which caused his or her injury or illness. In practice, this could mean that the medical professional performed a procedure incorrectly, grossly misdiagnosed you, or prescribed an incorrect medication.

• Damages. If you win your medical malpractice lawsuit, you will be awarded financial compensation known as damages for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs. Damages can be divided into two categories: economic, which pay for actual dollar costs like bills and missed work, and non-economic, which are meant to compensate for pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and other factors that are difficult to quantify.

• Statute of limitations. The judicial system imposes a limit on the amount of time you have to file a medical malpractice suit, known as the statute of limitations. The purpose is to force plaintiffs to file lawsuits in a timely manner, instead of waiting until evidence and memory fade and the case becomes less clear.

• Proximate cause. To prove medical malpractice, the plaintiff must show that the act performed by the doctor led directly to the injury sustained. It does not need to be the only cause, but it must be identifiable as a causal factor. This relationship is called proximate cause.

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