When we go to a hospital, we should expect compassion from our healthcare providers and treatment for our injuries.
When a patient suffers physical and emotional injuries due to hospital negligence, it can feel traumatic. When a hospital breaches its duty in providing care, you may have the right to recover monetary compensation for the physical injuries and emotional distress you suffered.
Situations Where You Can Sue a Hospital
Mistakes that happen during medical treatment can be harmless. Other mistakes can cause harmful complications. While some medical complications are unavoidable, especially after surgery, unavoidable and harmful mistakes should never happen.
Medical negligence is a broad term. It means that an avoidable mistake occurred and caused a patient harm. Negligence is not a one-size fits all situation. It comes in many forms. When a hospital staff member is negligent, they make an error that a reasonable person with the same training and job role would not have made.
An example of medical negligence—and a reason people sue hospitals—is a misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis on its own is not necessarily enough to sue a hospital. However, you may have an eligible medical negligence lawsuit if the misdiagnosis qualifies as negligence.
A misdiagnosis reaching the level of negligence might occur when a patient receives the wrong treatment, which causes harm. Or perhaps the patient didn’t receive treatment at all, and it caused harm. Either way, if a misdiagnosis caused a patient harm, it could be negligence.
Another common reason to sue a hospital is improper medical treatment or administering incorrect medication. Improper medical treatment could mean amputating the wrong limb or operating on the wrong body part, causing serious bodily harm.
Likewise, a medication administration error can have serious repercussions, like harmful side effects or allergic reactions.
These medical errors can devastate a patient’s quality of life, which is why a patient should have recourse. The recourse available depends on the specific facts of a case, but for the most part, an injured patient deserves compensation.
How Long Do You Have to Sue a Hospital After Negligence?
If you believe you have a case against a hospital, then you must file your case within the timeframe identified in the statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations on medical malpractice sets a time limit on your eligibility to file a medical lawsuit. You must file before the deadline to retain your opportunity to have legal recourse.
For medical malpractice cases, which is what a lawsuit against a hospital would be, the general deadline for filing is two years from the date the medical negligence or error occurred. There is also an overall deadline (called a “statute of repose”) which bars all malpractice claims that occurred ten years before the alleged treatment mistake.
To complicate matters, because the law is rarely clear-cut, several exceptions exist to the two-year rule. In certain instances, Missouri will pause the statute of limitations when a physician leaves an unauthorized foreign object in a patient’s body.
The two-year time limit does not start until the negligence was discovered or reasonably should have been.
In addition, if a healthcare provider negligently fails to inform a patient of medical test results, the time limit starts when the negligent failure to inform was, or reasonably should have been, discovered.
Another important doctrine in Missouri is that the two-year time limit starts once the patient stops receiving treatment from the allegedly negligent healthcare provider.
When a case involves a minor, different time limits apply. A minor is a child under the age of 18. They have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the legal requirements of a medical malpractice case, or you’re unsure whether you’ve missed your chance to file, contact a medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible. After hearing some of the details of your situation, a lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of the legal landscape surrounding your claim.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Lawyers are because medical malpractice cases are complicated. A lawyer understands the law and filing requirements, which helps you receive the appropriate compensation for your case.
For example, Missouri law requires a patient to submit an affidavit at the outset of the lawsuit to show that the case has merit. The purpose of this requirement is to filter out unsupported claims.
The affidavit must state the patient obtained a written opinion from a “legally qualified health care provider.” Of course, it’s not enough to declare you have a legally qualified healthcare provider. You actually have to have one.
At Dempsey Kingsland Osteen, we are fortunate enough to have a team of medical professionals assisting with your claim, which is an invaluable benefit to your case.
Additionally, a lawyer is helpful because they can help determine the appropriate party to sue. There may be several parties or just one. In either case, including all potentially liable parties will help you recover against them.
A lawyer will also understand how to prove the other party is responsible for your injuries. In a case against a hospital, a lawyer must prove the healthcare provider was an employee and prove negligence.
A lawyer will also help calculate your medical malpractice losses or damages. While a patient may have some idea of their expenses and financial losses relevant to their malpractice claim, an attorney can calculate additional losses they may not have considered so they can fight for the maximum compensation available.
By filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you can legally hold negligent hospitals and healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes.
An attorney will negotiate a reasonable settlement in hopes of avoiding court. But if the insurance company is not cooperative, you will need an attorney who will not be intimidated by the thought of trial.
Kansas City Medical Negligence Lawyers
The attorneys at Dempsey Kingsland Osteen have successfully negotiated millions of dollars worth of settlements for our clients and have extensive trial experience. We have over 75 years of combined experience in medical negligence cases.
Our law firm offers a unique medical perspective other law firms can’t provide because we have a medical team that evaluates and assists in preparing the medical aspects of your case. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical lawsuit.