Answers to Your Medical Malpractice Legal Questions
Your Questions Answered - Your Legal Options Explained
At KCAIA we know that it is essential for every injury victim to get good information about how to pursue their accident claim. Following a medical accident that causes serious injury to you or a loved one, there are often many unanswered questions.
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from new clients. For a quicker, more customized search, try typing your question into the search bar above.
Don't see what you are looking for? If you don't find the answers you need, contact us today for answers to your specific questions. Remember, the consultation is FREE and there is no obligation.
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Is it difficult to prove doctor negligence?
Your case must be proven by expert medical testimony. A doctor or medical provider in the same specialty as the negligent provider must be willing to testify that the conduct of the defendant fell below the accepted standard of care. Sometimes this is extremely hard to come by, even in cases in which the negligence is obvious.
In addition to negligence, you must be able to show that you suffered injury from the error and have suffered damages. Because of the tremendous hurdles in obtaining a recovery in a medical malpractice case, most experienced medical malpractice attorneys agree that the injury suffered must be significant. It is our belief that either the monetary damages (the medical bills and wage loss) generally must exceed $100,000, or you must have suffered a significant and permanent disability or disfigurement to warrant the expense and risk of prosecuting a malpractice case. See articles in this website for much more information concerning what you must prove to win your medical malpractice case. Also, contact our office for a FREE no obligation consultation.
Is it worth it to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Kansas or Missouri?
Even if it appears that there has been medical malpractice and the medical care provided did not meet the expected standard of care, not every medical malpractice claim should be pursued. Today, more than ever before, medical malpractice cases are being fought tooth and nail, regardless of the merits of the case. Because of this, the recoverable damages in any given case must be substantial in order to make it economically possible to pursue such cases.
Unfortunately, people who pursue medical negligence claims find themselves in a combat zone between medical malpractice insurance companies and those fighting to protect people injured through the fault of others. The war that is being waged is called tort reform.
Has tort reform left medical malpractice victims in Kansas and Missouri without hope?
The tort reform battle involves high stakes, where millions of dollars have been spent by the insurance industry inflaming the public against people who pursue injury claims and their attorneys. Their goal is to attempt to severely limit an injury victim's ability to obtain appropriate compensation for their injuries. The propaganda battle waged by the insurance companies and business interests has had a tremendous effect on juries and jury verdicts. Their success in tainting the minds of jurors has emboldened them not to offer fair settlements in many cases until you prove you are ready, willing and able to go to trial.
I have heard that Kansas City medical malpractice claims cause health care costs to rise. I think health care costs are already too high, and I don’t want to contribute to them going any higher. However, I’ve been hurt. Should I file a medical malpractice case?
Our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers appreciate your concern about the high cost of health care, even in the face of a personal medical malpractice injury. However, we want you to know that there may be little evidence to support the claim that medical malpractice is a significant reason for the currently high costs of health care.
A consumer group called Public Citizen recently found that 2011 medical malpractice payments were at a record low after falling for eight consecutive years. Yet, the costs of health care continue to rise.
As a patient who was injured by a medical error, you have the right to protect yourself and your family. You have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, lost income, pain, suffering and other damages. It is not your responsibility to lower health care costs, nor is there any evidence that failing to file a medical malpractice lawsuit would lower the cost of medical care.
For more information about how to protect your rights after a medical mistake, please contact our experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys today at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616. We also invite you to learn more about the medical malpractice claim process by downloading our free book, The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims.
My husband died during surgery. Prior to surgery, the surgeon told us that death was a risk of the surgery. Does that mean that I shouldn’t contact a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer now?
We are sincerely sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. Death is, unfortunately, a risk with some surgeries, and it is a risk that even the best and most vigilant surgeons cannot prevent. However, that does not necessarily mean that your husband’s death was not caused by medical malpractice.
In order to determine if your husband’s death was the result of an unavoidable complication or of a Kansas City surgery error, it is important to contact an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney who can investigate what happened to your husband and help you understand your legal rights.
If your husband died because the surgeon, a member of the surgical team, or the hospital did not act with reasonable care, then you may have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and recover damages. Damages may include compensation for your husband’s medical bills, your husband’s funeral expenses, your family’s out-of-pocket cost, your husband’s past and future lost income, your husband’s pain and your family’s suffering.
You do not want to live the rest of your life wondering, “What if?” What if it was a mistake that took your husband’s life? What if you could have helped protect your family’s financial future? What if you could have prevented the surgeon, surgical team, or hospital from inflicting this pain on another family?
To find out the answers to these questions, please contact a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer today at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616 and read our FREE book: The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims.
I’m concerned that I’ve suffered a heart attack misdiagnosis. What should I do? Do I need a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney?
Before you have a heart attack, it is impossible to conceive that you could suffer such a significant medical event and a doctor could miss it. However, a heart attack misdiagnosis is possible, and may be even more likely if you are female.
Heart attacks may be misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, when a patient presents without the classic intense chest pain that many of us (and our doctors) associate with heart attacks. Females, especially, may go to their doctors with more vague feelings of discomfort or pain in other parts of their bodies.
If you think that you have suffered from a misdiagnosed heart attack, it is important to do three things:
First, it is important to get a second opinion. Your heart may have been damaged during the heart attack, and you may need treatment to protect yourself and improve your health.
Second, it is important to talk to an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney. You can reach a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616 for a free consultation about your rights and potential case.
Finally, you can learn more about medical malpractice in Kansas City by reading our FREE book: The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims.
We hope that this answer provides you with the information that you need to protect your health and legal rights if you have suffered from a heart attack misdiagnosis.
Can a Kansas City dentist commit medical malpractice?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. A dentist is a type of doctor. As a doctor, a dentist owes his or her patients a duty of care. If that duty of care is breached and the patient suffers harm as a result, then the dentist may have committed medical, or dental, malpractice in Kansas City.
There are many potential injuries that could result from dental malpractice. For example, a mouth injury could occur, an anesthesia error could be made, or a serious condition could go undiagnosed. Any of these scenarios could lead to significant harm to a patient and could lead a patient to contact an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney.
Oral health is an important part of a person’s overall health care plan. If you have been hurt by your dentist, then we encourage you to read our FREE book, The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims and to contact an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney today for more information about your potential Kansas City dental malpractice case. We can be reached at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616.
I wasn’t told anything about what to do when I left the emergency room and I have suffered significant physical harm because of it. Should I contact a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer?
Yes, you should contact an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss what happened to you. You have nothing to lose by making the call. If your lawyer believes you have been harmed because of emergency room malpractice, he will advise you of your rights and explain your potential recovery.
Generally, emergency room doctors should provide you with discharge instructions when you leave the emergency room. The doctor should use reasonable care in writing the discharge instructions based on the information available. For example, a doctor may recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor, or a specialist, as soon as possible.
Of course, as the patient, you also bear some responsibility. If your symptoms worsened or remained concerning, then you should seek medical attention regardless of what was in the discharge papers.
However, if you believe that an emergency room discharge error was made, it is important to contact an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616. Our Kansas City injury lawyers also encourage you to learn more about your rights in our FREE book: The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims.
What diseases are most often misdiagnosed in Kansas City?It’s hard to answer this question because there is no state or national tracking of medical malpractice cases. However, a 1993 study determined that five diseases top the list in terms of annual dollar awards for malpractice. These diseases are heart attacks, appendicitis, breast cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
When heart attacks and appendicitis are misdiagnosed in the emergency room, the misdiagnosis may lead to rapid deterioration and death. This is especially likely when the patient presents atypical symptoms It is not uncommon for heart attacks to be misdiagnosed in women because heart attack symptoms may be subtle and different than the classic symptoms experienced by men.
Cancers are often misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can lead to unnecessary disease progression, pain and suffering and death.
What is meant by punitive damages?
When a personal injury or medical malpractice case goes to court, the jury may award the victim both actual damages and punitive damages for their injury claim. Actual damages are those that compensate the victim for costs such as medical care, property damage, rehabilitation and lost income. They also cover harder to define losses such as loss of companionship, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity that are related to the accident. Punitive damages or exemplary damages refer to monetary compensation that is awarded to an injured person that goes beyond what is necessary to compensate that person for their losses. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for wrong doing. To receive punitive damages the victim must be able to prove that the defendant was not just negligent, but knowingly and willfully caused harm. There are limits on punitive damages in both Kansas and Missouri.
The attorneys at the Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys can determine if your Kansas City injury case qualifies for punitive damages.