Suffering from injuries due to the negligence of a healthcare provider can throw your world into a state of doubt and disbelief. Overnight you are trying to balance and manage your new injuries, additional medical expenses, and potentially lost wages. Your situation may entitle you to seek compensation from the healthcare provider with a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice claims are serious, complicated legal cases that will have lasting impacts on the quality of your life after the injury. Having a trusted, accomplished attorney in your corner will give you a better chance at recovering the best compensation for your injuries. If you are in this unfortunate position, call a Blue Springs medical malpractice attorney at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen.
Basic Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims give patients injured by a doctor’s or medical personnel’s negligence a chance to recover compensation for their injuries. To successfully recover compensation, a plaintiff and their attorney must prove the medical service provider’s action or lack of action:
- Did not meet the standard of care ordinarily used by other medical personnel under similar circumstances, and
- Directly caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injury or death.
Successfully litigating a malpractice claim requires specific legal and medical knowledge. Our team of attorneys and medical staff have more than 20 years of experience advocating for clients.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You
When you file a medical malpractice complaint with the court, it must contain a detailed list of the types and amounts of compensation you’re requesting. This compensation must be broken down into the following categories:
- Past economic damages;
- Past noneconomic damages;
- Future medical damages;
- Future economic damages, excluding future medical damages; and
- Future noneconomic damages.
A seasoned medical malpractice lawyer will help you consider your individual needs and draft a complaint that requests the appropriate compensation for the financial and emotional damages you have suffered.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many events that may cause a healthcare provider to commit malpractice. However, medical malpractice cases often stem from the following errors.
Doctors may overlook signs of a disease or condition and ultimately provide a delayed diagnosis that makes treatment harder to identify and less effective when it is finally administered. Cancer patients are a notable group of individuals who rely on early diagnosis to give them the best chance at remission and recovery.
Mistakes in Diagnosis
You may have received an incorrect diagnosis that led to unnecessary tests, procedures, and medications that did nothing to treat the real issue and ended up causing serious complications. Doctors who mistake the stage or category of a disease (e.g. the stage of cancer) are common examples of these claims.
Not Identifying Complications and Underlying Conditions
Doctors must monitor their patients closely during treatments to ensure they are not suffering from a bad reaction to medication or displaying symptoms of an underlying disease. Not identifying harmful reactions or the presence of multiple diseases can add to the patient’s distress and let the diseases or conditions spiral out of control.
Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Typically, you must file a medical malpractice claim within two years after the date the malpractice occurred. As with many laws, there are exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. If your medical malpractice claim involves any of the following situations, the date that starts the two-year timer is extended:
- Foreign object left in a body after surgery;
- Failure to inform the patient about test results; and
- Malpractice claims for actions performed when the person was a minor.
Generally, patients in these situations have two years from discovering the malpractice or from reaching the age of adulthood to file a claim. Two years from the date of discovery might sound like a long time, but Missouri law prohibits malpractice claims from being filed more than 10 years after the date the malpractice occurred.
Exceptions to Missouri’s two-year statute of limitations are nuanced and complex. Do not forfeit your right to compensation by trying to navigate this process alone. An attorney can help you identify the correct deadlines for your case and ensure that you file on time.
Types of Compensation That You Can Recover
Nothing can restore your life to how it was before the malpractice, but compensation from a claim can offer you some reprieve and comfort from the uncertainty of paying for past and future medical care related to your injuries. Missouri law allows patients to recover compensation for their injuries under three categories: economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.
- Economic damages. This type of compensation provides the patient with money for damages that are easily calculated. Such damages include past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the patient’s recovery from the injuries.
- Noneconomic damages. This includes compensation for a patient’s emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. These are damages caused by the injury that are difficult to measure on an economic level.
- Punitive damages. These damages are uncommon in medical malpractice claims. This type of compensation is reserved for cases that can clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the healthcare provider intentionally caused damage to the plaintiff or demonstrated malicious misconduct that caused damage to the plaintiff.
Being harmed by medical malpractice can have a long-term impact on your life. Therefore, it is imperative for you to recover the highest level of compensation possible to help ease your burden.
Calculating past economic damages may not seem that difficult, but you will want an experienced attorney to help you understand how to calculate future medical expenses associated with your injuries, as well as noneconomic harm. Working with experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Blue Springs will help you ensure that your claim requests fair compensation.
Limits on Noneconomic Compensation
Missouri law limits the amount of compensation you can receive for noneconomic damages, like emotional distress, pain, and suffering. Compensation limits are based on whether your injuries are catastrophic. For an injury to be considered catastrophic, it must result in:
- Substantial and permanent brain impairment,
- Loss of at least two limbs,
- Irreversible organ failure,
- Paralysis—quadriplegia or paraplegia, or
- Significant vision loss.
All other injuries are considered non-catastrophic and have a smaller recovery limit. Fortunately, Missouri courts ruled that the date of the trial, not the date of the injury, governs the limit that will be applied in a case.
For example, if you were injured by medical malpractice in 2023 but your case does not go to trial until 2025, the court will apply the 2025 limit to the amount the plaintiff can recover. Limits on non-economic damages must be increased by a small percentage (1.7%) each year on January 1 to adjust for inflation.
If your medical malpractice case goes to trial in 2024, the applicable caps for noneconomic damages are:
- $465,531 for non-catastrophic injuries, or
- $814,679 for catastrophic injuries.
The compensation limits are the same no matter how many defendants you name in your lawsuit.
Consult with a Premier Medical Malpractice Attorney
Our premier medical malpractice attorneys in Blue Springs put clients first and vigorously advocate for the best compensation available for their unique circumstances. We thoroughly investigate every aspect of your medical malpractice claim and work with our in-house medical team to prepare a strong case that is difficult for insurance companies to defend.
Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen has practiced for decades in Blue Springs and earned a reputation among insurance companies as being a formidable adversary. Your search for the best medical malpractice attorney stops here. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.