Doctors, surgeons, and nurses can and do make mistakes. National statistics tell us that medical malpractice is far more common than it should be. Careless or reckless mistakes can lead to life changing injuries and illnesses for patients. If the decision making or performance of a doctor, surgeon, or nurse falls below the “standard of care” for similar professionals in their position, and this failure causes injury or death to the patient, a medical malpractice claim may exist. A medical malpractice claim entitles the injured patient, or his or her closest family members in the event of death, to recover certain “damages” allowed by North Carolina law. If you or your family member is suffering physically and financially because of medical negligence, the Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Law are here to assist.
Medical Malpractice Damages under North Carolina Law
In many ways, a medical negligence case is not that different from any other personal injury claim. Once it is established that an injury was caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional, the plaintiff can recover compensation for the consequences of that negligence. Although not exhaustive, examples of damages recoverable in a North Carolina medical negligence case include compensation for (a) past and future medical expenses; (b) past lost wages and future diminished earning capacity; (c) past and future physical pain and emotional suffering; (d) permanent injury and disability; and (e) permanent scarring. Unfortunately, there are sometimes limitations on these damages, depending upon the exact circumstances of the medical negligence. This should be discussed with your lawyer.
In the event that a loved one dies as a result of medical malpractice, the damages recoverable include the compensation permitted under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2.
Common Mistakes Leading to Medical Negligence Claims
Although there are any number of ways a physician can act negligently and cause harm, there are specific categories which seem to occur more commonly than others. Examples of common fact patterns prevalent in physician negligence cases include:
- Surgical Error – Leaving retained foreign objects in a patient’s body or otherwise making mistake while performing a surgery, including operating on the wrong part of the body;
- Medication and Anesthesia Errors – Giving the wrong medication or dosage to a patient;
- Failure to Diagnose – Failing to properly and timely diagnose a medical condition in a patient, including cancer;
- Birth Injuries – Causing injury or failing to prevent injury during delivery, can include brain hypoxia; and
- Emergency Room or Intensive Care Unit Mistakes – Any number of circumstances, including delays caused by hospital administrative failures.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Any civil action has a “statute of limitations” – the time period within which a lawsuit must be filed. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for a particular medical mistake can be complicated. It is recommended that if you suspect a medical mistake has led to injury or death, that you immediately consult with a licensed North Carolina attorney regarding the applicable statute of limitations in your case.
Doctor Negligence Case Reviews and Evaluations
Medical malpractice cases are unique under North Carolina law. Our legislature has imposed countless burdens on patients injured by the negligence of a doctor, surgeon, or nurse. In most cases, any lawsuit filed must be accompanied by a statement from another doctor who has reviewed all of your medical records and provided an opinion. The process of obtaining this opinion can be time consuming. It is important that if you or a loved one is injured because of the negligence of a healthcare professional, you timely seek assistance from an attorney.
The Raleigh personal injury lawyers of Maginnis Law can assist you with evaluating your medical negligence claim. We will work to make sure your case is evaluated by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional. From our Raleigh office, we offer free consultations to all prospective medical malpractice clients. To schedule a meeting with our lawyers, visit our contact page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we are able to assist you with your case, we will offer a contingency fee agreement, whereby you owe no attorneys’ fees unless and until we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.