When a potential medical malpractice client first contacts Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey, the potential client wants to knowwhether they have a good case. This post will help clarify the factors that go into determining whether you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
First, doctors are not held to a standard of perfection. The practice of medicine is not an exact science and there are often bad outcomes that are not a result of a doctor's negligence. Simply put, a bad outcome, alone, does not translate into a claim against the doctor for medical malpractice. Unfortunately, due to the difficult nature of the practice of medicine, injuries can occur even though there was no negligence on the part of the health care providers.
So, if more than a bad outcome is required, the question becomes, what more? In short, the doctor's treatment must have been somehow deviated from the accepted standard of care. This can happen in a misdiagnosis case if the doctor failed to order a test that most other doctors would have ordered. It can happen in a birth defect case if the doctor failed to order a c-section in a timely manner after the baby's heartbeat dropped below a certain rate. These are examples of violations of the standard of care. A violation of the standard of care is just another way of saying that the doctor's treatment was negligent. When there is a violation of the standard of care, the doctor, the hospital, and any facility associated with the doctor can be held legally responsible for the injuries caused by the deviation from the standard of care.
In order to have a meritorious claim for medical malpractice, several elements must be met. First, there must have been a doctor-patient relationship, which creates a duty of care owed to the patient. Second, the doctor must have somehow deviated from the accepted standard of care. Third, as a result of the deviation from the standard of care, the patient must have been injured and there must be a clear connection between the doctor's deviation and the patient's injury. Whether the doctor deviated from the standard of care and whether the injury is related to that deviation can only be determined after medical expert has reviewed the relevant set of medical records. At Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey, we have a relationship with almost every type of medical expert so that we can get you records reviewed to determine if there is a claim for medical negligence. And, in most instances, we pay for the cost associated with getting the records reviewed and an opinion from the expert. If the expert opinion is not beneficial, we do not then send you a bill for the expert's fee.
The injuries are part of the harm that fall under the larger category of damages. Damages include the cost of medical treatment to fix the harm caused by the doctor, lost wages resulting from time missed from work as a result of the injuries caused by the doctor's mistake, physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life. If the injury is permanent in nature, the damages will include the cost of future necessary medical treatment, the value of future lost wages, and awards for the future pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that the injured person will experience as a result of the injury.
In cases involving catastrophic, permanent injures, the future medical bills, future lost wages, future pain and suffering, and future loss of enjoyment of life can be the most valuable part of the case. In these types of cases it is important to have a law firm that knows what experts to properly present the case. An economic expert will be needed to quantify the value of the future lost wages. A life care plan expert will be needed to outline the expected course of future medical care and the cost of that care. Because Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey has successfully handled medical malpractice claims against all of New Hampshire's major hospitals, including Wentworth Douglass in Dover, Exeter Hospital, Frisbie Memorial in Rochester, Elliot Hospital and Catholic Medical Center in Manchester in Manchester, Southern New Hampshire Medical in Nashua, Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon, and Portsmouth Regional Hospital, we have developed a strong set of relationships with the best experts around so that we can present a claim that maximizes our client's recoveries.
If you have believe you, or a loved one, may have been the victim of medical malpractice, please contact us immediately so we can evaluate your claim. The experienced attorneys at Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey will be able to help you understand whether you have a viable claim and, if you do, our firm will be able to maximize your recovery for the damages you sustained. As always, we will evaluate your case at no cost to you and we don't collect a fee until you receive compensation.