Frequently Asked Medical Malpractice Questions
When medical errors or negligence cause patients to suffer harm, this is known as medical malpractice. If you have experienced medical care that left you worse off than you were before and dealing with serious injuries, you have a right to find out whether it was the result of malpractice.
The Injury lawyers of Sansone & Lauber help patients and the families of patients in Missouri and Illinois who have been injured by the medical professionals they trusted to help them. Those who have been harmed by medical malpractice can seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Below are questions frequently asked of our medical malpractice lawyers. Please contact Sansone & Lauber today online or by phone and allow us to address any specific questions you may have about the unique facts and issues in your case.
How long do I have to take legal action about my surgery?
How Long Do You Have to Sue a Doctor After Medical Malpractice Occurs: Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Missouri
In both Missouri and Illinois, there is a statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice claims. The law sets a deadline for filing any legal action that arises from medical negligence. When considering how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must also think of the time that will be needed to develop a claim before it is filed.
Both Illinois and Missouri generally require plaintiffs to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the alleged negligent act (or failure to act). Each state’s law has a “discovery rule.” This is a provision that allows the two years to be counted from the date when the patient knew of or reasonably should have known of the injury.
In Illinois, a strict deadline of four years from the date of injury is applied regardless of discovery. In Missouri, a final deadline of 10 years from the date of injury is enforced.
The laws make allowances for minors. Illinois allows eight years from the date of the injurious act to file an action as long as it is brought before the person’s 22nd birthday. In Missouri, a minor has until his or her 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind: Medical malpractice claims are complex and require time. Medical records and other pertinent documentation must be collected and reviewed. Depositions, or sworn statements of fact, must also be obtained. Medical professionals must also review the investigation and provide an expert opinion as to whether medical errors occurred.
This is why a medical malpractice attorney should be consulted as soon as possible if you suspect that you or a loved one is a victim of a medical error or negligence.
Do I have a medical malpractice claim for my doctor’s failure to diagnose my cancer at an early stage?
You may have a legal claim for the delayed diagnosis of your cancer. Misdiagnosing cancer is a serious medical error, particularly when valuable treatment time has been lost.
Unfortunately, missed or delayed diagnosis of disease and other medical problems is a common medical error. In too many cases, it is an error caused by a physician’s negligence.
We suggest that you have an experienced malpractice attorney help you gather your medical records so they can be reviewed by an independent medical professional. Questions we would want answered include:
- Did you present symptoms that should have alerted your doctor to the possibility of cancer?
- Did your doctor order the appropriate tests based on your symptoms?
- If tests were ordered and conducted, were the results interpreted and communicated correctly?
- Would prompt diagnosis and intervention have made a difference in your prognosis?
A Sansone & Lauber medical malpractice attorney can work with you and investigate your case for free. If we identify a preventable error by your physician, we will pursue just compensation.
If I have a medical malpractice claim, who can I sue for compensation?
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Cases in Missouri: Who Can I Sue?
A medical malpractice claim may seek compensation from anyone involved in the medical care you received if they acted with negligence. A lawsuit may also name the organizations that employed such individuals. It is important to make sure your attorney has identified everyone who should be held liable in your medical malpractice case.
A medical malpractice lawsuit would claim that the standard of care provided to you did not meet the generally accepted set of standards and practices that other medical professionals would take when treating a similar patient.
Depending on your case, the defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit could include:
- Hospitals and any other entities providing health care services
- Registered or licensed practical nurses
- Lab technicians
- Professional physical therapists
- Any employees of those named above if they were acting in the course and scope of their employment
It is important that the investigation into your medical malpractice case is thorough and identifies all parties that should be held liable for the harm done to you. This is how Sansone & Lauber works to seek due compensation for clients like you.
Is a medical malpractice lawsuit worth my time?
How Long Does a Malpractice Settlement Take
Medical malpractice cases can be complex and difficult undertakings. However, the compensation that may be obtained can be of great assistance to a person who has been injured or to a family that has suffered the loss of a loved one.
Becker’s Hospital Review provides statistics about recent medical malpractice lawsuits and payouts in the U.S. You can also view settlements and verdicts obtained by Sansone & Lauber to learn about several cases we have handled for clients, including a $4.5 million settlement in a St. Louis medical malpractice case.
Our approach to medical malpractice cases is to conduct a thorough investigation at no cost to the client, including having independent medical professionals review our findings and offer their expert opinions. We then advise our clients as to whether we see a way to move forward. In some instances, we may advise against pursuing a claim. Sometimes, our client chooses not to move forward.
If we do pursue a lawsuit on your behalf, there are no costs unless we obtain compensation for you. Your only investment is your time. Of course, we realize that you value your time. We will do everything possible to efficiently and thoroughly respond to any questions and concerns you may have.
A lawyer from Sansone & Lauber becomes your attorney when we take your case. You will have his personal dedication to you and your needs throughout the course of your case.
What will my medical malpractice claim be worth if it is successful?
In most cases, the primary purpose of a medical malpractice claim is to obtain money to help the injured person and/or their family to pay medical bills and other costs connected to the harm.
Compensation pursued in a medical malpractice lawsuit may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages / income from being unable to work
- Pain and suffering, including mental pain as well as physical pain
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Punitive damages
Birth injuries may require a lifetime of medical expenses. A lawsuit should calculate future expenses and losses as well as past and current expenses.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can also expose the problems that have caused the medical errors or negligence cited in the claim. They may be due to individuals who are incompetent or uncaring or due to outdated equipment or systemic problems in a hospital or clinic. A medical malpractice lawsuit can spur a medical institution to make needed changes.
If I file a medical malpractice lawsuit, will it go to court?
In many cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be settled satisfactorily for the plaintiff without going to court.
Doctors and hospitals have insurance for legal claims. In many cases, the insurer would rather pay a settlement than go through the time, expense and bad publicity of fighting a strong claim.
In Illinois, a medical malpractice case must go to mediation, which can help settlement negotiations. Illinois plaintiffs may choose either a Circuit Court judge who is not the trial judge, or a neutral party from the private sector to mediate their case. Missouri does not require mediation. However, it is available as an alternative to litigation.
Of course, a settlement offer must be acceptable to you. A Sansone & Lauber attorney can advise you, but the final decision will be yours. If a settlement cannot be reached, you have a right to have your day in court.
We always prepare our cases as if they are going to court. This gives us leverage in settlement negotiations and allows us to be ready for trial.
We can walk you through what to expect in court and make sure there are no surprises. From the very start of your relationship with Sansone & Lauber, we will respond to your questions and concerns promptly and make sure you are never left to wonder what is going on with your case.
What will it cost me to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
It will not cost you anything to pursue a medical malpractice claim and file a lawsuit. Sansone & Lauber will only request fees once we have obtained compensation for you. If we are not successful, it will cost you nothing.
All of our legal services in medical malpractice cases are provided on a contingency-fee basis. This means our fee depends on the compensation we obtain for you.
If we can pursue a lawsuit on your behalf, we will set an agreement with you that provides us a specific percentage of the final settlement or court award in your case.
This is why we say that anyone who has had an unexpected negative outcome to medical care should let Sansone & Lauber investigate. Even if we cannot pursue a legal claim, our investigation of your case will provide you with a better understanding of what happened to you.
To learn more about how we can serve you, contact our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers today by phone or through our online form.