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What to Do If Your Loved One Is a Victim of Medical Malpractice

Jim Crabtree Law Sept. 1, 2023

Stethoscope Over Malpractice Wooden BlockIf you or someone you love was injured or lost their life as the result of a medical error or a misdiagnosis by medical staff, you likely have standing to file a medical malpractice suit. These claims can provide much-needed financial relief to victims and their families—but they can also be some of the hardest to prove and win. According to data collected by Justpoint, the state of Kansas has one of the lowest average payouts for medical malpractice suits in the country at just over $231K. Only three states—Michigan, California, and Texas—have lower averages.  

If you’d like to speak with a personal injury attorney and learn more about your chances of bringing forward a successful claim against a medical provider, reach out to us at Jim Crabtree Law. At our firm, we can help those in and around Overland Park, Kansas, and throughout the KC Metro areas of Kansas and Missouri, including Wyandotte County, Johnson County, Independence, and North Kansas City. Set up a consultation today. 

What Is Medical Malpractice? 

When a patient is harmed or injured in some way due to an error or the medical negligence of their health care provider, it could be considered medical malpractice. That said, because there are several reasons a patient may fall ill or have their condition worsen that are independent of any doctor’s actions (or inactions), it can be difficult to definitively prove medical malpractice was the cause of the injury. 

To have a strong case, you typically must show that the actions, decisions, and advice of the health care provider didn’t meet the “medical standard of care”—and because this standard was not met, you suffered damages. Simply because a procedure or line of treatment didn’t have the result you expected is not necessarily grounds for medical malpractice. 

Generally speaking, you must be able to prove three elements to have grounds for a claim: 

  1. You had an established care relationship with the health care provider, and this provider had a duty of care to you. 

  1. This provider was negligent in their care for you. For instance, you may ask whether another provider in the same position with the same base of information would have met a different medical standard of care. 

  1. Once you’ve established that the duty of care of medical staff or doctors who treated you was breached, you must then show that this negligence caused damages (ie. an injury, illness, worsening of a condition, or death.) 

Most Common Medical Malpractice Errors  

There are numerous examples of medical malpractice, and each will be unique to the patient. If you aren’t sure whether your experience merits a claim, the best thing you can do is consult with a medical malpractice attorney. Below are a few of the more common examples: 

  • Diagnosis: Many medical malpractice suits begin at the diagnosis stage. This can be a misdiagnosis which could result in pursuing the wrong line of treatment or failing to start any treatment. It may also be a failure to diagnose which could result in an illness or condition continuing to worsen.  

  • Failure to Properly Treat a Diagnosis: In other cases, the diagnosis may be correct, but the recommended treatment was not correct. This led to further injury. 

  • Surgical Errors: If a surgeon makes an error, such as operating on the wrong arm or body part, or fails to follow safety protocols which results in an infection, you may have grounds for a claim.  

  • Childbirth Injuries: Sadly, injuries during childbirth—to either the mother, the baby, or both—could result in brain damage, spinal cord injuries, or even death. 

No matter your concern, it’s vital to reach out to a personal injury attorney to help you navigate these complex cases. 

Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?  

It’s not just doctors who can be found at fault in medical malpractice cases. Other medical professions can possibly bear the blame: 

  • Nurses 

  • Anesthesiologists 

  • Specialists 

  • Surgeons 

  • Dentists 

  • Pharmacists 

  • Psychiatrists 

  • Hospitals or other treatment centers  

What Are My Next Steps? 

These cases can be complicated, so it’s important to know what to do when filing a medical malpractice claim. Whether you were the victim or someone you love suffered an injury or lost their life and you’re now pursuing a claim on their behalf, you need to work with an experienced attorney. Hospitals and health care facilities will have teams of lawyers in place specifically to field medical malpractice lawsuits and they are very good at discounting claims made by patients. You will need someone on your side to advocate for your interests.

A skilled lawyer can help you at every stage of the process, including gathering enough evidence and documentation to support your case. An attorney can also help you obtain something called an “affidavit of merit,” which is needed to proceed with your claim. This essentially means that an expert in the field (e.g. another doctor of the same specialty) issues a statement under oath stating the original care the patient received did not meet the “medical standard of care.” 

Compassionate & Skilled Legal Counsel 

Experiencing any kind of injury can be incredibly frustrating. If an injury due to medical malpractice has happened to you or someone you love, it’s important to reach out for legal guidance. If you’re in the Overland Park area—or anywhere in the KC metro areas of Kansas and Missouri—and would like to learn about your options for filing a medical malpractice suit, contact us at Jim Crabtree Law.