Frequently Asked Questions
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If I have cancer and suspect I was misdiagnosed or my doctor missed the diagnosis, what are my damages?
Damages in misdiagnosis/missed diagnosis cases are often hard to prove with certainty because neither the judge, the jury nor the lawyers know what the future will hold for you or your loved one. Again, expert testimony will give the jury the best educated projection of quality of life and duration of life once the patient has been diagnosed with the cancer in question.
I was the victim of medical malpractice. What should I do first?
It is essential to obtain as complete a medical record of the treatment in question as soon as you can. You, as a patient or a family member, have the right to obtain from the hospital or doctor’s office the records addressing and involving the treatment in question.
How long does a medical malpractice case take from start to finish?
The answer to that question depends on the state in which the claim is filed, the court calendar, and the insurance defense attorney for the doctor. However, as a general proposition, you can expect your case to run one to two years from start to finish.
Are there alternatives to trial in a medical malpractice case?
Yes. The parties to a medical malpractice case have the option of going to mediation or arbitration prior to the scheduled trial date. Both options have their benefits; mediation is voluntary and a skilled mediator can often bring the parties to resolution. Arbitration is more formal and similar to a court case in that the arbitrator makes a judgment or decision about the case, which decision is typically binding upon the parties.
How long do I have to bring my medical malpractice claim?
The answer to this question depends on the state you are located in. Some states are as soon as one year; others are as long as three years. As a general rule, it is always better to move promptly rather than wait to consult an attorney with your questions. Questions such as these can be answered by calling the attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan who will be happy to assist you with that particular question as well as others relating to medical malpractice.
What do I have to prove in order to recover in my case for a medical malpractice claim?
The law requires that you prove two things: (1) that the healthcare provider (doctor, nurse or hospital) violated the standard of care. Standard of care simply means that the doctor did not do what a good thorough healthcare provider would do in similar circumstances and (2) that the healthcare provider’s failure to follow the standard of care caused the injury in question.
These issues are determined primarily through the testimony of expert witnesses such as doctors or other healthcare providers in the specialty of medicine that is in question. For instance, if there were an allegation that a radiologist misread a mammogram resulting in cancer to the patient, the plaintiff would hire an expert radiologist to testify that the treating radiologist was negligent, as well as hiring an oncologist who would testify that the cancer would have been treatable or removed if the radiologist saw the signs of the cancer in the first place.
Is a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer evidence of medical negligence?
It is possible that a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis will not be evidence of negligence. However, the answer to the question often hinges on whether evidence of cancer was visible to the radiologist when reading the x-ray, CT or MRI study. A central issue is whether a reasonably prudent (i.e., good, careful) radiologist would have understood the abnormality shown on the study when reading it.
What legal options do I have if I suspect nursing home neglect or abuse?
Response to those suspicions depends on how severe they are. For instance, if you believe that your loved one’s life is in danger, you would get in touch with outside medical support to evaluate the resident. Additionally, you always have the option of meeting with upper level nursing personnel or home administrator to discuss conditions at issue. Finally, you have the option of seeking an additional facility location if possible.
Can the state get involved in a nursing home abuse case?
Yes. All states have a review process in which complaints from residents or family members are examined. These examinations result in a written report which is available to the resident or his or her family.
At what point should I contact a Virginia nursing home abuse attorney if I have concerns?
The answer to this question is on a case by case basis, but generally contact should be made as soon as you determine that your efforts to remedy a problem are being ignored by the nursing home staff. The attorneys at our firm are prepared to assist you with any questions you have in these matters.