Kansas City Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Holding Negligent Medical Professionals Accountable!
When it comes to the professionals that take care of our health needs, we expect a certain level of confidence. We expect them to be trained to a high standard so that we can feel safe when we need their help the most.
Unfortunately, negligence does happen, and when it does, the result can lead to catastrophic injuries.
Medical malpractice is one of the most harrowing forms of negligence. It comes from those we trust with our lives – our doctors, nurses, and physicians. We never imagined those in charge of our health and well-being would engage in negligent or reckless practices that could threaten or even take our lives.
When this occurs, medical malpractice law in Kansas City, MO, states that you should have every chance to hold these physicians accountable for their negligence. Medical malpractice cases are considered personal injury claims in the eyes of Texas law, which means you should seek the help of a skilled Kansas City personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice.
Here at Wendt Law, our highly-skilled, highly experienced team of Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers are here to help. We have a great track record in dealing with medical negligence cases just like yours. We offer a free consultation and free case evaluation where we can advise you on the best course of action and discuss your case.
We have over 40 years of combined experience in dealing with cases just like yours, so call us on 816-542-6734 to seek the compensation you deserve.
Ask a Kansas City Attorney: What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?
If you are wondering what exactly constitutes medical malpractice and medical negligence here are some common reasons for a medical malpractice claim:
The incorrect diagnosis of a medical condition. This can happen because the doctor refuses to put the patient through certain tests or monitoring, or they ignore the concerns of a patient and their condition worsens.
Poor communications between doctors and nurses, such as forgetting to communicate medications, side effects, or allergy risks with each other.
Treating or operating on a patient without informed consent. This happens when a doctor does not gain consent to administer medications or surgery. Consent should always be given by patients before treatment or the doctor is engaging in grossly negligent behavior.
Treating a patient with the wrong medication or performing the wrong procedure. This happens due to a lapse in judgment, a surgical error, or bad communication. Failing to perform the correct procedure is definitely gross negligence.
Discharging a patient too early or not allowing them enough time for the treatment to take to finish. Rushing to discharge a patient can lead to conditions or side effects being missed.
A lack of sufficient monitoring. If a patient is not monitored correctly and regularly during their time at the hospital, there may be injuries that could have been avoided.
Common Injuries Sustained As A Result Of Medical Malpractice In Kansas City, MO
Every Kansas City area medical negligence case is different and can result in any number of injuries. The most common ones we see here at Wendt Law are:
Surgery or Anesthesia Error
Mistakes during surgical procedures, such as administering too much anesthesia or leaving a cotton swab in the body, can easily be fatal. A patient might have a malpractice claim if a surgeon or operating room staff member makes a mistake that a reasonable, prudent party would not have.
As stated above, medication mistakes are some of the most common in the industry. Prescribing the incorrect medication, giving the wrong dosage, or mixing up patients can lead to adverse outcomes and even death.
Misdiagnosing a condition, diagnosing a condition too late to help the patient, or failing to diagnose a condition at all can result in the patient not receiving the treatment he or she needs. Diagnosis errors can worsen a patient’s prognosis, exacerbate injuries and illnesses, and lead to wrongful death.
Malpractice during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can result in a birth injury that can harm the mother and baby. Common mistakes during childbirth include failing to monitor vital signs, delaying cesarean section, and failing to diagnose and treat emergencies, resulting in harm to the baby such as brain damage.
Negligent Patient Care
Some forms of medical malpractice aren’t as glaringly obvious as a surgical error, yet still cause significant patient harm. Patient neglect can lead to a lack of sanitation, bedsores, infections, worsened outcomes, and preventable post-surgery complications.
A patient may have grounds for legal action any time a healthcare professional or facility falls short of professional duties, resulting in patient injury, death, or other damage. Contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer when in doubt to schedule a free consultation about your case.
Infections usually happen as a result of poor sterilization and contamination issues. Infections can arise from surgical equipment that has not been sterilized or contaminated equipment or medication. Infections can cause serious complications and even death if untreated.
Surgical incisions in the wrong patient
While rare, we do see cases where patients undergo surgery that they were not meant to undergo. Sometimes patients receive the surgery that was meant to be done on another patient. This means they have undergone a complicated medical procedure for no reason. They may have long-term follow-up appointments and mental trauma as a result and they deserve to be compensated for this.
Drug overdose or allergic reactions
It is the responsibility of the hospital and the doctors to ensure that the medication is given in the correct dosages and that the patient is not allergic to the medication.
The worst possible outcome of medical errors is the wrongful death of a patient. This can happen because of incorrect medication, surgical errors, or device malfunctions.
It is really important for all attorneys who work in this field to have exceptional knowledge of the Missouri medical negligence laws and regulations. If you do not follow them to the letter, your case may be thrown out. This includes presenting to the relevant medical review boards.
Medical malpractice comes in many forms, and medication errors can be some of the most damaging cases. Although many prescription medications share similar names, it’s vital for doctors and pharmacists to accurately write and fill prescriptions. Doctors must carefully examine a patient’s medical history before prescribing a medication. They must check for allergies or potentially dangerous interactions with other prescriptions. Pharmacists must accurately fill prescriptions and provide customers with instructions for proper use.
When medication mistakes happen, victims can suffer extreme or even deadly consequences. A patient who takes a drug that interacts poorly with other prescriptions could face severe medical complications or die. Additionally, if a patient receives the wrong medication, the medical condition will continue to worsen since he or she isn’t receiving appropriate treatment. When these errors result in patient illness and injury, victims can file medical negligence claims to recover compensation.
Types of Medication Errors
Any error resulting in patient harm from medication could constitute a medical malpractice claim. A few examples of medication errors that might justify a lawsuit include:
Prescribing the wrong medication to a patient.
Confusing the name of prescribed medication for another and filling a prescription incorrectly.
Prescribing the wrong dosage.
Filling a prescription with an incorrect pill count, dosage size, or other inaccurate variables.
Failing to warn a patient of potential side effects and dangerous interactions.
Failing to instruct the patient on proper dosage (taking the pill with food, etc.)
Prescribing a medication to which the patient is allergic.
In some cases, a medication error may not manifest noticeable symptoms for some time. In other cases, the issue will be immediately apparent. Missouri allows for a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, beginning on the date of injury or the date the patient discovered the damage from the medication error. Such an error could cause the patient’s condition to worsen, necessitating further medical intervention or corrective procedures and further expense. Patients may also experience negative reactions to the wrong medication, causing pain and suffering as well.
Who is Liable in my Medical Malpractice Claim?
All healthcare providers have a duty of care to their patients. This means that all medical professionals can be held liable in a medical negligence case. If a medical professional acts in a way that any reasonable professional would not, they are acting negligently.
It can be difficult to assign liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A single case could involve the liability of a physician, nurse, surgeon, health care center, manufacturer, and/or other defendants. Understanding your right to file a claim as an injured patient may take a case review from a qualified personal injury attorney. A lawyer can look at the facts of your case and identify the party that failed to fulfill the reasonable standard of care for the situation. Then, your medical malpractice attorney can help you bring a case against that party/parties.
A doctor or surgeon could be individually liable for your damages if he or she was an independent contractor, not an employee of the health care center. Most hospitals in Missouri hire contractors rather than keep doctors as employees, meaning the negligent physician could be personally liable for the malpractice.
If an employee of the hospital or other health care center contributed to your injuries, the center could be vicariously liable as an employer is over its employees. An attorney can help you find out if the person who caused your injuries was a contractor or an employee of the facility. A hospital could also be liable for injuries it causes, such as injuries due to unsafe premises.
Emergency Room (ER)
Emergency room malpractice could lead to injuries that likely would not have happened in a safer ER setting. ER malpractice may take the form refusing patient care, misdiagnosing conditions, ignoring complaints, keeping unsafe premises, and misreading test results.
If you suffered an injury because of a condition misdiagnosis, the lab that mixed up or misread your test results could be liable for your damages. It is a lab’s duty to avoid mixing up patients or test results, as well as to behave in a manner that is reasonable and prudent.
Medical Product Manufacturer
Companies that create and distribute medical devices, medications, and other medical industry goods have very high standards of care. They must adequately design, test, and market their products to be reasonably safe for patients. Failure to do so could result in an injury and product liability lawsuit.
Holding someone liable for your damages after alleged medical negligence may take a thorough investigation of facts. Your lawyer may have to revisit the hospital, interview its employees, gather evidence, and hire medical experts to attest to the fact that the defendant breached a duty of care within the medical industry.
Other providers who could be liable:
You have grounds to make a medical malpractice claim if any healthcare professional has caused you harm. When treating patients, all healthcare providers have a patient-provider relationship which means they are accountable for their actions whilst treating you.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice in Kansas City, MO?
You are going to need proof in order to assign negligence in a medical malpractice case. In particular, you are going to need to prove that malpractice directly caused your injuries.
To do this you will need to show:
That the victim was under a doctor’s care in a professional relationship.
That the doctor acted negligently.
That the doctor acted in a way that a reasonable equal would not have acted.
That the injuries in question were caused by this negligence.
That the patient suffered damages as a result, such as medical bills, emotional trauma, etc.
You must prove the following four elements as an injured patient:
You and the physician had a doctor-patient relationship at the time of the incident. You may not be able to hold a physician or facility responsible for wrongdoing if you weren’t a patient at the time. For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses you while off-duty at a cocktail party, he or she did not bear the same duties of care to you as a physician in a healthcare setting. You must have hired the physician and he/she must have agreed to the position.
A breach of duty occurred. Physicians, hospitals, emergency rooms, and other healthcare workers and facilities owe patients the highest standards of care. Doctors must be “reasonably skillful and careful” in treating patients. You must show that the defendant breached a duty of care to you to have a malpractice claim. A “breach” can be anything that results in the defendant failing to fulfill his/her/its duties of care to you as a patient.
The defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. You must have proof of proximate cause between the physician’s actions and the injuries or wrongful death for which you’re bringing the lawsuit. Proximate cause means that the breach of duty must have “more likely than not” caused the patient’s harms. Having a medical expert in the same field as the defendant testify can typically help with this burden of proof.
The act of malpractice caused real, compensable damages. You must have suffered real damages as a result of the defendant’s actions to have a claim that qualifies. “Real damages” can refer to economic and non-economic losses, including lost wages, hospital bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. You can also list damages such as funeral and burial costs if a loved one died from medical malpractice.
You have the foundation for a medical malpractice claim with these basic requirements. However, knowing if medical malpractice or personal injury laws cover your specific case takes looking at the special requirements, discussed below.
Importance of Investigation
Medical malpractice cases and the law that governs them are particularly complex, and this means it is crucial to hire a specialist Kansas City medical malpractice attorney in order to guide you through the process.
They will be able to investigate on your behalf, collecting evidence and advising you on the best course of action. They will also advise you on the importance of keeping all records, from medical bills to taxi ride receipts.
They will be able to get in touch with their network of medical malpractice experts. These will be able to bolster your claim in court.
Most of the time, physicians will have strong levels of medical malpractice insurance to protect them if they make a mistake. This means that in many cases, the insurance companies will attempt to settle outside of court, preventing the need for a lengthy court case.
This only happens if you are in full agreement with the settlement figure and we advise you to speak to your medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City to find out if they think the sum is acceptable or not. Settling outside of court will lead to fewer fees and less stress but may mean you are awarded less overall.
Filing a Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice in Missouri
Unlike some other states, Missouri does not uphold any caps or limits on damages a plaintiff may receive in a medical malpractice case. Missouri also has specific laws in the event of joint damages, or cases involving two defendants against one plaintiff. For example, a doctor prescribes the plaintiff the wrong medication for his or her condition, and the pharmacy fills the erroneous prescription incorrectly as well with a larger dosage than intended. In this situation, both the doctor and the pharmacist would absorb some measure of fault for their mistakes if they resulted in harm to the plaintiff.
If you intend to file a lawsuit for a medication error or any other kind of medical malpractice in Kansas City, you will need an affidavit of merit signed by a medical professional, as mentioned above. This affidavit will essentially act as sworn testimony from the practitioner that your claim has merit. Experienced attorneys can help you build a strong case for your medication error claim. If you succeed in your claim, you can recover compensation for any expenses resulting from the error as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
Our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys have helped many clients secure compensation for their damages in a variety of civil claims. We understand the damage a medical malpractice situation can cause and we want to help: our lawyers are not afraid to handle complex medical malpractice claims. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Kansas City. We’ll review your claim and see how our firm can help during a free consultation.
What Damages Could You Recover Through a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Although all medical malpractice cases are different in terms of severity and complexity, you and your loved ones may be entitled to a range of different damages if you have been the victim of negligence.
Some damages are economic, meaning they have a physical number attached to them. These include things like medical bills. Some are non-economic, these include things that are less tangible, like loss of enjoyment of life. These will need to be calculated by an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer.
A medical malpractice attorney from our Kansas City law firm will ensure that you have the chance to be compensated in full for any damages you have received, which may include:
When it comes to claiming for your medical bills, you can claim for all past, present, and even future medical bills. You will need to keep all records of your bills if you want the best chance of compensation.
Keep records of all ER visits, necessary medical devices, routine doctor’s appointments, and more.
Loss of Wages and Earning Capacity
If you have had to take time off work due to your injuries, you can claim for all lost wages you have incurred as a result. If your injury means you can no longer work in the same capacity as you did before, you can claim for all future loss of earnings too.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering can mean a number of things. These non-economical damages can include things like pain and emotional suffering you have endured or loss of enjoyment of life if you can no longer attend sporting events or hold your kids.
To calculate these damages your Kansas City medical malpractice attorney will look at things like your levels of depression fear and anxiety as well as how much your life has been changed as a result of the incident.
Non-Economic Damage Cap
In Missouri, there is a cap on all non-economic damages. This means in a standard medical malpractice case you can claim for up to $400,000 dollars for non-economic damages.
In more serious cases that result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death, this is increased to $700,000.
Loss of Consortium
If a close family member or spouse has lost their life due to a medical malpractice incident. You may be entitled to seek compensation for lost income to the household.
If you feel the medical professional involved acted in a way that was malicious or grossly negligent, you may be able to seek punitive damages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the individual and deter others from acting in the same way.
The Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Suits
Every state in America has its own specific statute of limitations. This places a time limit on victims of personal accident cases, medical malpractice cases, and wrongful death cases.
These time limits are put in place to encourage victims to pursue their specific claims in a timely manner. This prevents victims from taking advantage of the fact the defendant most likely no longer has the evidence to dispute their claim
Medical malpractice limitations tend to be shorter than standard personal injury cases.
If you attempt to file your case after the given time limit, the court has every right to refuse your claim entirely. If you do manage to get the court to listen, you may find the defendant uses your untimely filing as strong evidence against your claim and you may have your case thrown out.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Kansas City for a Medical Malpractice Case?
In Missouri, the state of limitations states that you have two years to file medical malpractice suits.
There are a few exceptions to this where the length of time can be extended. One example would be if a physician has left a surgical tool inside a victim’s body. In these cases, victims have two years following the date they discovered the object.
Kansas City Medical Malpractice Laws
Medical malpractice laws are complex. These laws govern the definition of medical malpractice, when a patient may file, deadlines for filing, and other important rules. Understanding the laws surrounding your particular case can help you avoid missing a statute of limitations or make another mistake that could bar you from recovery. The laws will differ according to the state in which the incident occurred:
You have two years from the date of injury or discovery of injury to file your claim. Exceptions exist to this deadline. For example, child victims have two years from the date of their 18th birthdays, or 10 years from the date of injury, to bring a claim (whichever is later). To file, the plaintiff needs an affidavit of merit or a document that states an expert agreed that the defendant was negligent.
A plaintiff has two years from the date of injury to file a claim in Kansas. However, there is s a four-year statute of repose. This means that regardless of when the patient discovered his or her injuries, the patient has four years maximum from the time the error occurred. Kansas does not require an affidavit of merit to file, but the courts will hold a medical screening panel to review the claim if either party requests this action.
There is a non-economic damage cap on medical malpractice claims in Kansas but not in Missouri. This cap is between $250,000 and $350,000 depending on when the case accrued. Navigating laws can be grueling, especially if you’re also recovering from significant injuries. Working with Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys can make the process much easier for you and your family.
Missouri Fault Laws
The fault and negligence laws in Missouri give injured patients the right to pursue claims against hospitals and doctors allegedly guilty of medical malpractice. Filing a claim as a victim could be the first step toward achieving financial compensation for your damages. Your attorney can help you seek justice by navigating medical malpractice laws and patient rights. A claim based on medical negligence will have to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the patient as his or her doctor, breached this duty and caused the patient’s injuries.
Missouri’s fault laws also involve comparative negligence, meaning a courtroom could find you partially responsible for your injuries and reduce your compensation award. In comparative negligence states, the courts will diminish a plaintiff’s award by an amount equivalent to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. If the courts find you 30% responsible for your injuries, for example, you would receive a settlement or verdict award minus 30% of your claim’s total value. Minimizing your percentage of fault with help from an attorney can help you maximize your award amount.
Do Medical Malpractice Laws Cover My Case?
More than two years must not have passed from the date you discovered your injuries in both Kansas and Missouri. You have a maximum (“statute of repose”) of 10 years in certain cases in Missouri and a maximum of four years in Kansas. An “Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider” is also needed to verify that you have a claim in Missouri. In addition, you may have to undergo a “medical screening panel” in Kansas. The purpose of these requirements is to weed out unfounded claims early in the legal process. A qualified medical malpractice attorey can help you with all of these tasks and burdens of proof.
What Can a Kansas City Medical Malpractice Lawyer Do For Me?
Here at Wendt Law, we know how daunting it can be to file a case against your healthcare professional. It is common that victims to decide not to pursue compensation because they are scared of the stress involved.
In complex medical malpractice cases, your attorney-client relationship is crucial. They are going to be helping you to prove your medical malpractice claims.
The first thing that will happen when you get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney in Kansas City, is usually a free consultation and case evaluation. During these initial talks, your malpractice attorney will evaluate your case and decide whether or not it is strong enough to pursue.
If it is, they will talk to you about their fee structure, offer some advice and arrange for a more formal sit down where you will start to build your case.
If you agree to representation, your Kansas City medical malpractice attorney will take over all liaising. They will deal with all the parties involved and take the burden from your shoulders. They will file your paperwork correctly and on time and ensure you meet all dates.
They will also begin their investigation process, speaking to experts and building a strong case on your behalf. This means you will be able to relax a little bit and focus on dealing with the emotional and physical trauma of the incident.
Once they have evaluated your case they will work out what they think your claim is worth and calculate a settlement figure. This figure will be worked out by adding up your economic damages and adding the non-economic damage figure they have calculated and sending it over to the insurance company.
Many cases will settle at this point and you will pay your lawyer their fees from your settlement figure.
If your settlement is rejected and the other party is not cooperative, your case will move to the courtroom.
At this point, your Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer will use the case they have built for you to convince the court that you deserve the compensation you are seeking.
Contact our Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
At Wendt Law Firm, our legal team is extremely experienced in dealing with a wide variety of medical malpractice, hospital negligence, and personal injury cases.
Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation, as well as some free advice.
Medical malpractice happens more often than most patients want to believe. Mistakes happen every day that put patients’ lives at risk, despite federal laws holding physicians, caretakers, and healthcare facilities to the highest standards in terms of patient care. AJohn’s Hopkins 2016 study showed that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, taking an estimated 251,454 lives each year (accounting for almost 10% of all deaths nationally). Millions of others suffer nonfatal injuries and other damages from medical negligence.
For example, misdiagnosis affects an estimated12 million patients in the U.S. each year. Studies show that about half of these misdiagnoses have the potential to cause serious patient harm. TheNational Practitioner Data Bank shows that the state of Kansas recorded 528 medical malpractice claims in 2016. Claimants received 131 payments for medical malpractice claims in Kansas that year. Missouri reported 942 medical malpractice claims in 2016, resulting in 161 payments to patients.