What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to negligence or wrongdoing in the medical industry. When a physician or another health care provider does something that goes against the accepted standards of care for his or her profession, resulting in patient harm, that doctor has committed medical malpractice. Filing a civil claim for medical malpractice in Kansas City could result in payment for your losses, according to Missouri law.

When Is a Negative Patient Outcome Malpractice?

Not every negative prognosis will point to medical malpractice. Sometimes, you may suffer an injury or illness despite a physician’s best efforts to treat your condition. If a reasonable and prudent doctor or hospital would have handled your care in a similar manner, your doctor may not be guilty of malpractice – even if you suffered an injury. Likewise, you may not have a malpractice claim if your doctor did not cause an injury, even if you have evidence of negligence. You must have all four necessary elements to have a claim.

  1. Duty of care. The person you are filing the medical malpractice claim against must have owed you a duty of care as a patient. The defendant must be your doctor or another health care provider, not just a friend.
  2. Negligence. The crux of your malpractice lawsuit is negligence. Your medical malpractice attorney must prove the defendant was negligent during patient care, meaning your doctor did something a prudent physician would not have in the same situation.
  3. Causation. Your lawyer must show causation between what the doctor did or failed to do and your injuries. You may not have a claim, for example, if your illness would have progressed the same way even with a better doctor.
  4. Damages. You must have suffered damages the courts can reimburse in Missouri. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, loss of consortium and emotional distress.

A negative health outcome could lead to a malpractice claim if your case has these four main elements. Otherwise, you may have an unfortunate health problem, but not grounds for a lawsuit in Kansas City. Your injury attorney must show the defendant acted outside of the accepted standards of care for a doctor and his or her patient. These standards exist to protect patients from low-quality medical care. A breach of any professional duty in the health care industry could be fatal.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Laws

Medical malpractice claims in Missouri involve specific laws claimants and defendants must follow. As an injured patient, hire a lawyer who can help you follow these rules if you wish the courts to hear your case. Otherwise, you could make a mistake or miss a step that causes the courts to dismiss your claim. A lawyer can help you navigate state laws so you do not have to fight for compensation alone.

  • Statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from the date of your incident or the date of injury discovery to bring a claim against a medical practitioner in Missouri. The statute of repose (maximum time limit) is 10 years.
  • Affidavit of merit. Your lawyer must file an affidavit of merit with a qualified health care provider’s signature when filing your claim. This affidavit will show the courts you have the elements of a valid claim.
  • Damage cap. The state places a cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims. The most your lawyer could secure on your behalf in noneconomic losses is $400,000 (or $700,000 for catastrophic injuries).

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, consult with an attorney near you for more advice. A lawyer’s representation can help you navigate the complex body of laws covering medical malpractice in Missouri. Your lawyer can help you understand who may be at fault for your injuries, as well as gather evidence if you do have grounds for a lawsuit. Counsel from a law firm could help you hold a hospital or doctor financially accountable for your losses.


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