Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. Approximately 250,000 Americans die every year as a result of some form of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured as the result of receiving treatment from a doctor or other health professional that falls below the accepted standard of care in the medical community. “Standard of care” does not require perfect or ideal medical care, just the normal care that would be expected from a reasonably competent professional in the same field.
The most common types of medical malpractice are mistakes in treatment, improper diagnoses, and lack of informed consent. Doctors are not liable for all negative outcomes, only for those injuries caused by their failure to provide the proper standard of care. Medical malpractice cases often come down to the testimony of expert witnesses attempting to define the proper standard of care for the medical condition in question and determine whether the treatment received met that standard.
The state of Missouri recently passed a law that places a cap on medical malpractice damages, after a previous law was declared unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. Medical malpractice plaintiffs are limited to $400,000 in non-economic damages. The cap increases to $700,000 in the event of catastrophic personal injury (paralysis, loss of limbs, brain injuries, loss of vision) or wrongful death.
The cap only applies to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The injured party will still be compensated for all monetary damages related to the injury. There is no cap on:
- Economic damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and future earnings
Missouri law also requires the filing of an affidavit of merit stating that a qualified expert was consulted about the case and agreed that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
As you can see, medical malpractice law is extremely complex. If you have been injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence, it is essential that you seek legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected and those responsible are held accountable. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.