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Liability and Damages in Louisville Medical Malpractice Cases

The first thing that a patient has to do in order to claim medical malpractice, is to show that the doctor actually deviated from the standard of care and made a medical mistake. Once the standard has been established, the plaintiff can show that a doctor in the same or similar circumstances could not reasonably have acted in the manner that this doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider did. In order for a person to prove liability, they must show that they have suffered damages or injuries as a result and that the injuries were specifically caused by the medical mistake.

If you have suffered from injuries due to medical negligence or error, a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through the steps necessary to prove liability.

Informed Consent

Informed consent requires that the medical professional tell a patient exactly what it is that he or she is coming in for, tell them what anyone can expect from the procedure, let them know what he or she is consenting to, and then ask them to sign any patient consent or release forms. If the healthcare provider does not thoroughly explain the details surrounding treatment, the patient signing is not able to give informed consent.

When a person is going in for surgery early in the morning, is thrown dozens of documents, and urgently told to sign, they have not received enough information to be able to give informed consent to the medical staff.

Liability Complications

Medicine is not black and white, it is very complicated. While a person may think that their injuries were caused by an innocent mistake, the fact may be that their symptoms are a known risk of the procedure. When anyone goes in for certain procedures, it is known, and the individual should have been informed in his or her consent, that these things can happen. So, while bad things can happen, it does not necessarily mean that a medical mistake occurred, it just means that every human body is different and medical mistakes do happen, and known risks of procedures are mentioned for a reason.

Misdiagnosis Liability

In a misdiagnosis case, there are all different kinds of misdiagnoses. For example, there are misdiagnoses of breast cancer, and they come in several forms. They can come from a treating gynecologist that palpates the mass and does not send that person for further diagnostic studies. It can be the radiologist who looks at the mammogram and sees a suspicious lesion and marks it as not suspicious. It can be the person that does the biopsy and finds a cancer but does not ever report the findings to that person so that person goes another year without knowing that he or she has been diagnosed with a form of cancer because the pathology reports were never sent to that person. So, there are a lot of different ways that misdiagnosis cases can progress.

Damage Calculations

In Louisville medical malpractice cases, there are certain items that a person can request from a jury, one being his or her past and future medical bills. If the malpractice caused that person a wrongful death, his or her family can ask for that person’s funeral expenses. If a person is working, that person can ask for past and future lost income or lost ability to find work. A person can ask for past and future pain and suffering. Currently, there are no caps in Kentucky on medical malpractice cases though the surrounding states have that, and, every year, the legislature tries to enact something to that effect.

Punitive damages can be requested but there must be a very high standard to get to punitive damages. An injured person has to show wantonness, willfulness, recklessness, and that the medical professionals were basically completely ignorant of what was going on or intentionally caused the damages to that person. So, they are difficult damages to obtain.

An extreme situation with punitive damages that might apply, would be something like amputating the wrong appendage. It would be having a callous disregard for someone that is coming in repeatedly with the same complaints and the doctor ignores it or perhaps the doctor has a drug or alcohol problem and just does nothing to treat the patient or does not do anything to properly evaluate them and that would be an exasperating situation that might lead to the level of punitive damages.

It is important that a person get an attorney right away with any of these cases because the statute of limitations in Louisville medical malpractice cases is one year from the date of the negligence or one year from which it reasonably should have been discovered.