Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Michigan
A medical provider is someone you visit expecting a duty of care in helping you overcome your health issues. When your healthcare provider acts carelessly, their medical negligence may lead to catastrophic injuries that change your life forever.
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., who can help you understand your legal options and determine the best course of action to get you compensation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence that occurs when a healthcare provider fails to deliver an acceptable standard of care which causes injury or death to a patient. To prove medical malpractice, you must show that the healthcare provider had a duty to you, the patient, that the healthcare provider breached their duty, and that the breach resulted in injury or wrongful death.
A breach of duty by a medical professional can take many forms but commonly include errors in diagnosis, prescribing improper medication, or making surgical mistakes.
A personal injury lawyer from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you understand the personal injury claims process associated with medical malpractice. Our Senior Partner Terry Cochran is highly rated by Super Lawyers, and he and his team will stand up to medical insurance companies on your behalf and fight for your right to a fair settlement.
How Common is Medical Malpractice?
According to a study published in 2019 by the New England Journal of Medicine, medical malpractice is quite common in the United States. The study looked at claims between 2003 and 2015 and found that although 89% of physicians had no claims, 8.8% had one claim, and 2.3% had two or more.
Most worrisome was that the 2.3% of providers with multiple claims made up 38.9% of all medical malpractice claims. The study also concluded that doctors with more than one malpractice claim were more likely to relocate than medical professionals without claims.
On a global level, the WHO suggests that medical malpractice is relatively common, with the organization estimating that 4 out of 10 hospital patients experience some form of preventable harm.
Unfortunately, these incidents are often only detected after they have occurred, making it hard to determine their prevalence. In addition, many medical malpractice cases go unreported, either because patients are unaware that they have suffered harm or because they cannot prove that their injuries occurred due to negligence. As a result, the true incidence of medical malpractice may be higher than currently estimated.
Where Medical Malpractice Occurs
A medical error can occur anywhere a health care professional provides patient services. These locations may include a medical treatment facility or in your home if a doctor is making a house call. Depending on the setting, different injuries can occur from medical mistakes and other forms of substandard medical care.
Hospitals are healthcare facilities where medical professionals perform various medical procedures and treatments. Hospital negligence can result from incorrect labeling of lab results, mistakes during a surgical procedure, or giving patients incorrect medication.
Another serious hospital malpractice, potentially due to negligence, is the possibility of hospital-acquired infections. Improper patient care or insufficient disinfecting protocols can lead to illnesses such as:
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
- Bloodstream infections
Emergency room errors can also be due to negligence, and the nature of care given in emergency circumstances does not always protect doctors from malpractice suits.
With dentists and dental hygienists accounting for approximately 11.5% of medical malpractice payouts between 2010 and 2021, the dental profession is not the medical field with the most malpractice cases. However, medical malpractice lawsuits are brought against dentists. The causes can range from anesthesia errors and damaging facial nerves to performing the wrong procedure and failing to diagnose a serious underlying condition, such as oral cancer.
The negligent actions of an obstetrician, nurse, or doula can injure an infant or its mother during labor and delivery. Failing to handle the newborn properly can result in a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, fractures, cephalohematoma, or other severe injuries.
A medical error by a pharmacist can result in serious harm to patients. One type of error that can occur is a prescription error. Prescription errors occur when a pharmacist dispenses the wrong medication to a patient. Prescription errors can occur for various reasons, including incorrect labeling or misreading a doctor’s prescription.
In some cases, patients may receive the wrong medication dosage, which can have dangerous consequences. Another type of error that pharmacists can make is called an adverse drug reaction. This error occurs when a patient has an allergic reaction to a medication they are taking.
Couples experiencing difficulty having a baby entrust fertility clinics with helping them overcome infertility issues. Errors by fertility clinic staff can result in birth defects, pain in a reproductive organ, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or even cancer.
Assisted care facility residents and their families expect an acceptable standard of care for their loved ones. However, besides the alarming report by the WHO stating that 2 in 3 nursing home staff members have committed abuse in the past year, senior citizens can fall victim to medical malpractice. When staff fail to provide proper care concerning residents’ medication, mental condition, and personal hygiene, elderly patients can suffer life-threatening consequences.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is not limited to doctors. Any healthcare professional providing services to patients can negligently contribute to a medical malpractice victim’s suffering.
Errors in Diagnostic Testing
To properly diagnose a patient’s illness or condition, doctors rely on various tests, including blood tests, X-rays, and MRIs. However, these tests are not perfect. They can produce false positive results, leading to unnecessary treatment or surgery. Diagnostic errors can also include false negative results, which may cause a delay in treatment.
Medication errors are one of the leading causes of preventable harm in the United States. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, more than 7 million people each year suffer the consequences of medication errors in prescribing, dispensing, and administering medication. The damages from these injuries exceed $40 billion annually, while 7,000-9,000 people lost their lives due to medication mistakes.
While some medication mistakes may be due to simple human error, others may result from system failures or design flaws. To reduce the likelihood of mistakes, healthcare providers must follow best practices, while patients should strive to be active participants in their care.
Healthcare professionals have a duty to provide the opportunity for informed consent. Giving a patient the wrong medication or drugs for which they have not been properly informed can constitute malpractice, warranting legal action from the patient.
A common surgical error occurs when anesthesia is not administered correctly. Ineffective or improperly administered anesthesia can lead to the patient not being correctly sedated, which can cause them pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Another common type of error is when a practitioner administers the wrong type of anesthesia. This can cause the patient to experience an adverse reaction or cardiac arrest.
A surgical error may require corrective surgery, which can be costly and require the patient to take time off work. Surgical errors can sometimes lead to permanent disability and even death.
Surgical mistakes include:
- Operating on the incorrect body part
- Leaving a foreign object in the patient
- Using faulty medical devices
- Causing an infection due to insufficient sterilization
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim
A personal injury attorney with experience handling medical malpractice cases can help you understand your legal rights and options. Furthermore, an attorney can investigate the facts of your case and gather evidence to support your claim. Your attorney can use the following evidence to build a strong case:
- Medical records
- Healthcare regulations and policies
- Police reports
- Expert witness testimony
- Photos or videos
- Erroneous prescriptionsCommunication such as emails and text messages
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney with legal experience in medical malpractice cases can also help you deal with insurance companies. Insurers can try to lowball claimants and deny claims, arguing that your damages are unrelated to the conduct of the medical professional in question. Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney by your side can significantly improve your chances of obtaining maximum compensation by building a solid case that an insurance company can’t refute.
What Damages Are Available to Victims of Medical Malpractice in Michigan?
Medical malpractice victims can claim economic damages that are easily quantifiable by looking at the consequences of the injury on their life. These include medical expenses and lost wages.
In addition to calculable damages like medical expenses, you can recover non-economic damages, which are effects on your life that are challenging to put a price on. These damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of potential future earnings, and loss of consortium.
Michigan limits non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases to $280,000 in most cases, or $500,000 if you suffer a serious injury such as a spinal cord injury or permanent loss of function in one or more limbs.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Michigan
From a newborn infant’s brain injury to an anesthesia-induced heart attack during surgery, failing to provide a proper standard of care can be devastating to patients.
When you or a loved one receive negligent medical care, entrusting your medical malpractice claim to a legal team with a proven history is vital for your case. Senior partner Eileen Kroll has a medical background in nursing and can help you hold the parties responsible for your injuries accountable.
If you can prove medical malpractice, paying out-of-pocket expenses and suffering the effects of your injury is never acceptable.
Contact the personal injury law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to pursue a fair settlement for your damages. Our law firm works with medical malpractice on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about legal fees to file your claim.
The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities, and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.
What can I expect if a lawsuit is filed?
The mere filing of your lawsuit does not ensure success and a large verdict. In a medical malpractice case, you and your attorney bear the burden of proving:
- The applicable standard of care
- Breach of that standard by defendant
- Proximate causation between the alleged breach and the injury
- Failure to prove any one of these elements is fatal to your lawsuit
If your lawsuit is against a general practitioner, your attorney must prove that he/she failed to provide you the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice or care in the community in which the defendant practices. If the defendant is a specialist, your attorney must prove that he/she failed to provide the recognized standard of practice or care within that specialty as reasonably applied in light of the facilities available in the community or other facilities reasonably available under the circumstances.
If your attorney proves the doctor, nurse or hospital breached the standard of care, that breach must cause a new injury to you or your loved one. You cannot succeed if the standard of care was breached but it caused no new injury. It must be proven that the new injury, more probably than not, was proximately caused by the negligence of the doctor, nurse or hospital.
How do we meet these requirements and prove your case? The elements of a medical malpractice case are proven by your medical records, sworn testimony by you and your loved ones and most importantly, through medical experts who are on your side. Without knowledgeable, credible and persuasive medical experts on your side, your case will fail. That is why you need an experienced, established law firm such as Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC, which has the medical contacts and financial resources to obtain the best qualified physician(s) to prove your case.
If I prove my case, what kind of damages can I expect to receive?
You may recover “economic damages,” which compensate you for your medical care, rehabilitation services, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, etc. that arise due to the injury created by the medical malpractice. Your “economic damages” may consist of expenses you already incurred as well as what you may reasonably incur in the future. The amount of damages arising out of your “economic damages” is unlimited.
However, the Michigan government has made the issue of “non-economic” damages extremely complicated and has put significant restraints on what “non-economic” damages a victim of medical malpractice may receive.
In most circumstances, for loss due to pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, etc., resulting from the medical malpractice the “non-economic damages” are limited to $366,000.00. This is known as a “cap” on damages. However, this “cap” is increased $653,500.00 if you or your loved one:
- Is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in a total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by injury to the brain and/or injury to the spinal cord;
- Has permanently impaired cognitive capacity rendering him or her incapable of making independent, responsible life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living; or
- There has been permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the inability to procreate.
Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be awarded these numbers rather, as a result of the Michigan legislation, this is the most you may receive for “non-economic damages.” A jury, who listens to the evidence, evaluates the credibility of your medical experts and the medical experts of the defendants will determine exactly what you receive.
Medical malpractice cases are tough, complicated and expensive. That is why you need experience on your side. Trust Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC, experience you can count on.