Even minor surgical procedures should not be taken lightly, as errors sometimes occur even under ideal circumstances. Not every surgical error constitutes medical malpractice, however. The deciding factor is typically whether the surgeon failed to meet an acceptable standard of care for the procedure. In medicine, the standard of care refers to a level and type of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional – surgeon in this case – would provide. When a surgeon fails to meet the standard of care for a surgical procedure, he or she has committed medical malpractice. If you believe you or somebody you love has been the victim of surgical malpractice, speak with a qualified Kansas City surgical error attorney.
Missouri Medical Malpractice Laws
The Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys at Dickerson Oxton, LLC help clients in Missouri with medical malpractice claims, including those for surgical errors. The state of Missouri places a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, beginning on the date of injury or on the date of discovery of an injury. Some surgical errors, such as surgical instruments left inside a patient, may go unnoticed for quite some time. The statute of limitations begins once symptoms noticeably manifest.
Missouri’s medical malpractice law also requires an affidavit of merit before the case can proceed to trial. After filing a medical malpractice complaint, the presiding medical review board will determine whether malpractice occurred and whether the plaintiff’s complaint has merit. Additionally, multiple defendants may come into play for a single claim, and the state of Missouri requires an affidavit of merit for each defendant. Missouri does not place any caps or limits on plaintiffs’ damages from cases involving multiple defendants. However, each defendant’s percentage of fault may affect liability for damages. A defendant found more than 50% at fault for a plaintiff’s damages may be liable for up to 100% of the damages. For more information regarding medical malpractice laws in Missouri, speak with a knowledgeable Kansas City surgical error attorney.
Compensation for Surgical Errors in Missouri
Any medical malpractice case for a surgical error requires expert witness input, both for the initial affidavit of merit and for the trial. A verified medical expert must show how the defendant violated the accepted standard of care for the given situation and harmed the patient. To prove medical malpractice, the plaintiff will need to establish four basic elements of malpractice in court:
- An official doctor-patient relationship existed. This means the plaintiff must provide some record that he or she agreed to treatment, and the defendant agreed to treat the plaintiff.
- The defendant was negligent. The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant violated the acceptable standard of care for the patient’s condition.
- The negligence led to harm. Next, the plaintiff must show how his or her injuries were “more likely than not” the result of the defendant’s negligence.
- Actual harm occurred. The plaintiff can only sue if he or she suffered a measurable loss or injury. If the defendant made an error but did not harm the patient, malpractice has not occurred.
- Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery – there is an instance in which the wrong site, procedure, or patient was operated on.
People injured due to surgical errors often face extensive recovery times, pain and suffering, additional medical expenses, and may miss time from work or incur a permanent disability from a surgical error. If a plaintiff can prove medical malpractice is behind a surgical error, he or she can claim compensation for all damages resulting from the defendant’s negligence. For additional information regarding compensation for surgical errors, consult a surgical error attorney in Kansas City, MO.
Seek Justice and Hire a Kansas City Surgical Error Lawyer
In Missouri, injured patients can turn to Dickerson Oxton, LLC for legal representation in surgical error claims. Medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex, and having trained legal assistance during the process is a tremendous benefit to injured plaintiffs. Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation.