Experienced Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer Aggressively Defending Healthcare Professionals in All Types of Professional Negligence Claims
A medical malpractice claim is among every healthcare provider’s worst fear. You spent years of your life in school, through rotations and residency, in hopes of making a positive difference in your patients’ lives. After obtaining your medical license, you sacrificed your time —and likely spent significant personal resources— to build your practice. The thought of facing allegations of medical malpractice is not only frustrating, but also terrifying. This is especially the case when a patient dies under your care. Could you have done anything differently? What will happen if you are found liable for a patient’s death? Will your medical malpractice insurance rates increase? Will you still be allowed to practice medicine. These are all normal questions after finding out that a patient accused you of medical malpractice. At the medical malpractice defense law firm of Oberheiden, P.C., we represent healthcare professionals in a wide range of medical malpractice and professional negligence claims. With centuries of combined experience working with doctors in all capacities, we understand the healthcare industry. The fact that a patient is not satisfied with an outcome is not the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. We recognize that perfection is unattainable, and even the best doctors cannot help every patient.
The Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice laws vary by state. However, generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes injury to a patient through some negligent act or omission. In order to succeed in a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare professional, a patient must be able to establish the following:
- A healthcare professional violated the applicable standard of care;
- The health care professional’s breach of this duty resulted in the patient’s injury; and
- The patient suffered a significant injury as a result of the healthcare professional’s breach.
When facing allegations of medical malpractice, each of these elements creates an opportunity for a defense.
The Standard of Care
In many cases, the bulk of the litigation surrounds the question of whether the treatment provided by the physician fell below the applicable standard of care owed to the patient. Again, states vary when it comes to defining what constitutes reasonable medical care. However, one generally accepted standard is that a physician must provide treatment of the “level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice.” Parsing this definition out, when assessing what the applicable standard of care is, courts look to the following:
- The treatment provided by the healthcare professional;
- The healthcare professionals background; and
- Where the treatment occurred.
Courts then look to what other members of the medical community would have done, had they been in the same situation. To assist in the judge or jury’s resolution of whether a healthcare provider violated the duty owed to a patient, almost all states require a patient to present the testimony of an expert witness. And many states require a patient to obtain an affidavit from a medical professional stating that the claim has merit before the claim is filed. At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of the healthcare industry and the laws that govern medical malpractice claims. We also work with a nationwide network of respected expert witnesses to challenge a patient’s retained expert’s conclusion, potentially resulting in dismissal of a claim before a lawsuit is filed.
The Causation Requirement
The second element of a medical malpractice claim requires a patient to prove that a healthcare professional’s actions resulted in their injuries. There are many situations in which a doctor may have violated a duty of care owed to a patient, but that breach was not the cause of the patient’s injury or death. For example, many patients who come to see a doctor have multiple medical conditions. Often, a patient’s other healthcare issues are entirely related to the reason they see a doctor. While any physician must consider a patient’s overall health when treating a patient, a physician is not liable for medical malpractice when a patient’s death or injuries are not causally related to the treatment they provide. This is just one example of a situation where a patient will have difficulty establishing causation; there are many others. Determining causation often involves a very complex legal analysis, with most cases requiring the plaintiff to present an expert witness. At Oberheiden, P.C., our dedicated team of medical malpractice lawyers have centuries of combined experience defending healthcare professionals in all varieties of professional negligence claims.
The Patient’s Injuries
As a whole, medical malpractice claims create a tremendous burden on the court system. Thus, courts require that a patient’s injuries warrant the time and expense of bringing the case. In cases involving minor injuries, the court may dispose of a plaintiff’s case. Of course, the bar to prove sufficient damages is not a very high one, and in cases involving severe injury or death, a patient will meet their burden.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
At Oberheiden, P.C., we’ve been representing physicians and other healthcare professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits for decades. We’ve handled all types of professional medical negligence claims over this time. A few of the most common cases we see involve the following allegations:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis;
- Improper administration of medication;
- Inadequate follow-up care;
- Unnecessary medical procedures;
- Failure to notice potentially dangerous drug interactions;
- Prescribing the wrong dose of medication;
- Failure to recognize a patient’s signs of drug abuse when prescribing certain medications;
- Misinterpreting the results of a medical test;
- Surgical errors;
- Failure to order the necessary testing;
- Disregarding a patient’s previous medical history;
- Labor and delivery errors;
- Anesthesia errors; and
- Premature discharge from the hospital.
We routinely defend physicians and other healthcare professionals in the following practices:
- Emergency medicine
- General medicine
- General surgery
- Gynecology & Obstetrics
- Internal medicine
- Oral surgery
- Pain medicine
Regardless of your specialty or the nature of the allegations you face, Oberheiden, P.C. can help by working with you and other medical experts to explain why your actions were justified, given the situation you confronted.
Medical Malpractice Errors Resulting in a Patient’s Death
Anytime a patient dies under your care, it’s natural to second-guess yourself. However, just because you could not save a patient’s life does not mean you committed medical malpractice. That said, society tends to unfairly assume that, because you were the treating physician, there was something you could have—and should have—done differently. However, that is not how the law works; the same standards apply in medical malpractice cases involving a patient’s death. Of course, cases involving a patient’s death require a special level of attention and preparation beyond what is needed in your run-of-the-mill medical malpractice lawsuit. At Oberheiden, P.C., our aggressive medical malpractice litigators have the knowledge, experience, and dedication needed to mount a comprehensive defense to the allegations you face. Because we have extensive experience working with healthcare providers, you will not have to teach our attorneys about the practical workings of the medical industry because we already understand them.
Should You Let Your Medical Malpractice Insurance Carrier
As a physician, you are required to purchase medical malpractice insurance. In return for the hefty premiums you pay, the insurance company agrees to provide you with an attorney in the event you face allegations of medical malpractice. However, the attorney provided by your insurance company may not be your best bet for a quick and successful resolution to the claim. When an insurance company hires a lawyer on your behalf, the lawyer’s loyalties are split between you and the insurance company. While a medical malpractice lawyer hired by an insurance company is legally bound to keep your best interests at heart, they also have a fiduciary duty to the insurance company that retained them. This can create a situation in which the lawyer must choose between what is best for you and what is best for the insurance company paying their fees. By retaining your own medical malpractice defense lawyer with Oberheiden, P.C., you resolve any potential conflicts because our interests are aligned. We will work for you, and only for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can a doctor lose their license after a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Probably not. Generally, a doctor found liable for committing medical malpractice will not lose their license. However, there are certain situations in which a doctor’s medical license may be on the line. For example, if the treatment a doctor provided (or failed to provide) was reckless or designed to intentionally harm a patient. Another example is if the doctor is deemed to be a threat to society. Of course, these situations fall outside the scope of the traditional medical malpractice lawsuit.
How often are doctors sued for medical malpractice?
Very often. According to a 2019 survey, nearly 60 percent of doctors report being named in a medical malpractice lawsuit at some point in their career. The majority of these claims are unfounded, and result in no payment to the patient. However, when a patient is successful, the damages awards are often significant.
Are You Unhappy with Your Insurance Lawyer? Do You Need a More Forceful Litigation Defense? Contact the Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C. for Immediate Assistance
If you face allegations of medical malpractice, contact the dedicated healthcare defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. as soon as possible. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers are skilled in both negotiation and litigation, and these skills to use in each of our client’s cases, at every stage of the proceeding. When you reach out to us, we will immediately put you in touch with a senior attorney who is intimately familiar with medical malpractice litigation, ensuring you get the attention you deserve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with you about your situation. To learn more, reach out to one of our medical malpractice defense attorneys today at 866-603-4540. You can also reach us through our online form, and an attorney will promptly get in touch with you.