Do you think you have a medical malpractice case against your doctor?
Fact is, you might. And you might not. Common sense doesn’t always dictate in the court of law, and what may seem like a clear cut lawsuit may not be. But one way or the other, this is a great place to start. Because you’ll be able to either confirm that you have a case, or that you don’t.
Let’s start with the home runs. That is, if you answer yes to one of the questions below, it’s looking good. Really good.
YES = You Likely Have A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Did they leave a surgical sponge or other foreign object inside of you after performing surgery?
This happens waaaay more than it should. 4,000-6,000 times more than it should. Yep. You read that right — in the US, 4,000 cases are reported each year, of surgical items being left inside a patient. And experts believe the actual number is closer to 6,000! That means that roughly 12 US surgeons per day who sew up their patients only to remember they’d left a foreign object inside of them. Oops. BIG oops.*
FYI, here’s a few of the most common objects left inside a patient:
► Scalpels: Blades for making surgical incisions.
► Retractors: Tool that holds incisions open.
► Sponges: Material not unlike gauze, to soak up blood and keep it from pooling.
► Clips/clamps: Tools used to pinch off blood vessels.
► Needles: Used to sew stitches and sutures.
Next up, the unwanted operation.
Did they perform an operation on you that you did not need?
Home run number two. If they operate on your arm to remove a tumor, but it turns out your x-rays had been switched with another patient’s and you don’t have a tumor after all, guess what? That’s medical malpractice. Time to talk to a malpractice attorney and plan your lawsuit.
Did they perform an operation on you that was meant to be for a different patient?
Patient A needs their tonsils removed. You (patient B) need lower back surgery. They remove your tonsils. Not cool, but congrats — that’s malpractice. You sir or ma’am, have a medical malpractice case. Same goes for the wrong part of the body, which brings us to question 4:
Did they operate on the wrong part of your body?
Let’s say you go in for an appendectomy. They put you under for the procedure. You wake up expecting to feel a little sore in, you know, your appendix region. But instead, you wake up to a missing leg. Yikes. That’s a home run and then some — time to call the best malpractice lawyer you can find, because you just might have a case.
Did they perform surgery without your consent? (Non-emergency only.)
You wake up confused and sore. Questions are asked. “Wait, why on earth didn’t you ask me first?!” you project, eyes justifiably bulging. They fumble around with some silly answers including how they’re legally clear to perform emergency operations without consent. But a vasectomy? That hardly seems like a justifiable emergency to you. And you’d be right to second guess. Grab the nearest attorney and sue away. (Actually just kidding — find the best attorney and medical staff.)
Did they fail to inform you about a significant risk? (A risk that has more than a 5% chance of occurring.)
Here’s the situation. Your doctor solemnly tells you that you have a narrowed carotid artery that needs to be opened so you don’t have a stroke. “Great!” you smile, and the next thing you know, your surgeon inserts a stent into your femoral artery, threads it through until he reaches your carotid, then inflates a balloon through the stent, successfully expanding your carotid artery. Yay! Wait no, not yay — they didn’t tell you the mortality rate, did they? Nope. 32% – that’s the mortality rate at two years after this sort of operation. That’s a big no-no and it’s on you to lower the hammer of justice.
Now, if you answered yes to any one of these questions, you almost definitely have a medical malpractice case. Congrats! What’s next? Give us a call, and we’ll walk you through the process to get you paid! It can be annoyingly complex, but that’s why we’re here — so it doesn’t have to be for you.
If you didn’t have any yes–wins to the questions above, fear not. Many if not most cases aren’t 100% obvious wins from the get go. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical staff is here to help you straighten everything out to determine whether or not you have a case.
So how do you know if you have a medical malpractice case if you didn’t have a yes for any the questions above?
Read on, to our “not-quite-home-runs-but-still-possibly-a-case-q-and-a.”
YES = You Might Have A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Were you injured during a medical procedure or because of a treatment?
Now, this may seem like an obvious win. You’re suffering in some way because your doctor messed up! But not all mess ups are considered malpractice.
That said, if you believe you’re suffering because your doctor messed something up, and you’re a smart, reasonable person, there’s a pretty good chance you’re right.
And this is the best part. All it takes is a quick call to find out.
Do you believe your doctor’s or nurse’s treatment was below medical standards?
The big question here is why? If you have a good reason, the best thing you can do is immediately contact the best attorney you know. The average medical malpractice settlement is over $425,000 and the average jury award is over $1 million. 9 out of 10 cases settle.* You don’t want to give up a chance to win $.5 million to $1 million, do you?
Does your doctor have a sketchy past littered with malpractice?
This is far from a home run, but still a pretty solid indicator that you’re on the right path. But how do you find out? Dig up their medical history online! You can use this online physician search tool from the Federation of State Medical Boards to look your doctor up.
Even if you don’t suspect a doctor of malpractice, and just want to know who is treating you or your family (or maybe you have a new doctor) it’s always nice to know that you’re in good hands. And if you’re not, you can find a better doctor!
Last but not least — there’s one automatic disqualifier you should know about. Sadly, your window of opportunity isn’t open forever. With that in mind, the next section will help you determine whether yours is or isn’t.
Are you within your state’s statute of limitations?
This is a biggy. If the answer to this question is no, I’m sorry to say, you don’t have a medical malpractice case.
How do you find out?
Well, let’s start with this. As of the date this article was written (and aside from suing government agencies), every state gives you at least a year. For example, here in Houston and the rest of Texas, you have up to 2 years after the day of the personal injury incident.
If you don’t live in Texas, use this personal injury statute of limitations chart to find out how long your state gives you.
Keep in mind, there are some very rare exceptions to these rules, possibly in your favor but also otherwise. A quick chat with your medical malpractice lawyer should set things straight.
Final Thoughts On Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
So that’s that. Hopefully you just found out some good news! If you’re in Houston Texas (anywhere really), and you think you have a lawsuit, we can help you confirm today.
That means, if you call us and we team up to pursue the lawsuit together, there’s a very high chance that you’ll be compensated through settlement. The average settlement, again, is $425,000. Not bad.
So find out! You may have a case, and you may not. But risking 5 minutes to possibly come out around $.5 million ahead? Way better than playing the lottery.