Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Serving Detroit, Wayne, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, and all of Michigan.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or organization provide sub-standard care, cause a patient harm, or cause death to a patient due to some type of negligence. If you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice in the state of Michigan, then hiring a personal injury attorney will be necessary to navigate the legal situation. Med mal cases can be complicated and difficult to prove since medical malpractice is very strict area of law governed by the state of Michigan. This is not to say that a medical negligence case isn’t possible, it just requires very specific guidelines to be met. Let’s take a look at the elements that make up a medical malpractice case in Michigan.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice cases:
- medical error
- faulty or late diagnosis
- incorrect medication or dosage
- improper healthcare management
- improper treatment
- improper aftercare.
Medical malpractice could also be caused by a failure to act on the part of a healthcare professional or treatment center. For example, if a reasonable doctor would have treated a certain condition but your doctor decided not to act, that could be considered medical malpractice.
How to prove a medical malpractice case?
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to prove and for good reason. Who would become a doctor or surgeon if they could be ruined for every perceived error? Likewise, medical treatment is by nature complicated; therefore, clear-cut solutions and treatments are unlikely. The guidelines in place that make med mal cases so strict are there to help deter false medical malpractice claims. It is human nature to want answers to you or your loved one’s issues. Because of this, hospitals and medical professionals often find themselves being wrongly accused. To prevent this, Michigan and every other state have strict guidelines in place.
However, if a medical professional or hospital was truly negligent in their care, then they should be held responsible for their malpractice.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Michigan
Before a court will consider a medical malpractice case, certain standards must be met and the following must be proved:
In any medical malpractice case, like most any personal injury claim, the first thing that must be proved is that the defendant (doctor, hospital, etc) owed you a legal duty of care. Doctors and hospitals definitely owe their patients a legal duty of care.
2. Breach of Duty
In a medical malpractice case, if your doctor failed to comply with this standard of care, they breached their duty to the patient. Almost every medical malpractice case requires that another medical professional be able to testify that there was some breach of duty. This concept relies on the idea that another doctor would understand what would have been a reasonable amount of care (i.e. what care would they have provided in the same circumstances).
It is not enough to prove that your doctor breached their duty of care but also that it directly caused your harm. If your doctor or hospital would have done something differently or not done something at all, would you have been injured?
Finally, one must prove that the three elements above actually caused some sort of damages, like physical harm, financial hardship, or some other type of pain and suffering. These damages can be economic (like medical bills) or non-economic (like losing the ability to pick up your grandchild).
Types of Medical Malpractice Damages
Depending on the damages caused to you, you can be eligible for compensation. Since 1994, Michigan has been reviewing their cap at the end of each year and adjusting it for inflation. The most recent figure puts the pain and suffering cap at $445,500 and $795,500 for cases involving significant or longer-lasting harm.
That compensation is based on the following types of damages:
- Special Damages: Special damages are calculable expenses, like medical bills and lost wages. These damages can be easily proved with receipts and through simple calculations (like multiplying hourly rate times hours missed from work).
- General Damages: General damages include pain and suffering, potential lost future earnings, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. They are much more difficult to put a number on and will require an expert to testify.
- Exemplary Damages: Exemplary damages are awarded to victims when a defendant has acted with malice or willful disregard for the victim’s safety or rights. Exemplary damages are similar to punitive damages (which are offered in other states, but not Michigan). In other states, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for their egregious behavior. But in Michigan, the aim of exemplary damages is to compensate the injured victim because of the defendant’s conduct, rather than to punish the defendant for their conduct.
Do I Have A Medical Malpractice Case?
There are extremely strict regulations that must be met for a patient to be able to prove a medical malpractice case. They are extremely complicated and financially risky cases, since they often require legal and medical professionals as expert witnesses, investigative resources, and often lots of time. For this reason, it’s important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case.
Regardless of the complicated nature of these cases, they are very much possible to pursue if a medical professional truly caused you harm due to their negligence. Speaking with a qualified med mal attorney is the only way to determine if the specific details of your case constitute a viable medical malpractice claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact The Law Office of Donald H Peters by clicking one of the options below.