Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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A form of tort law, medical malpractice law is intended to protect patients who have experienced negligent care at the hands of a health care provider, which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community, and which therefore leads to patient injury, harm or death. Medical malpractice can be defined as professional negligence that causes an injury. Examples of medical malpractice include the misdiagnosis of a disease; the failure to diagnose a disease or medical condition; failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition; and unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition.

A medical malpractice action can be brought against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists. Medical professionals are, by law, required to carry professional liability insurance so they can offset the costs and risk of lawsuits that are based on medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice suits can be brought not only for physical injury or harm caused by the negligence, but also emotional or psychological harm caused by health care providers' negligence.

Medical malpractice law is a highly technical field of law, and malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms. Even within the specialized practice of medical malpractice law, some lawyers have subspecialties of practice. Different attorneys, for example, may focus on medication errors, surgical errors, misdiagnoses, or birth trauma cases.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very expensive to pursue. Significant technical skills may be needed in prosecuting a malpractice claim; therefore, an inexperienced lawyer may not be sufficiently conversant with the medical issues, or might make a technical error, which causes a case to be lost or dismissed. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, or believe you may have been, it's in your best interest to contact a lawyer who specializes in your particular type of medical malpractice law. About 413 medical malpractice attorneys practice in Missouri.

There are specific elements in a medical malpractice case that have to be brought forth in order for the case to be successful. It is the plaintiff's burden to show that a duty was owed, meaning that there is a legal duty that exists whenever a health care provider or hospital engages in the care or treatment of a person. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the duty was breached, meaning that the provider did not conform to the standard of care that is relevant to their case. This is proven by an expert testimony or by obvious errors. Thirdly, the plaintiff must prove that the breach caused an injury, and what the specific damages are. If there are no damages, then there is no basis for a claim, even if the medical provider was negligent.

A majority of settled medical malpractice cases involved a medical error, and a recent study showed that an average of 195,000 deaths in a hospital from 2000 to 2002 in the United States were because of potentially preventable medical errors. Medical errors harm about 1.5 million people every year, and 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur in hospitals every year, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and 530,000 in outpatient clinics.

In 1986, Missouri capped non-economic damages for medical malpractice actions at $500,000.00, to be adjusted annually for inflation. In some states there is a statutory cap for attorney's fees, but in Missouri this is not applicable, and there is no limit on the amount an attorney may receive for compensation for their services in a medical malpractice action. Other key provisions in Missouri law include the following:
Under the collateral source rule, a defendant may not seek to reduce its liability by introducing evidence that the plaintiff has received compensation from other sources, such as the plaintiff's own insurance coverage.
Missouri does not impose special rules on expert witness testimony in medical malpractice cases.
Where a plaintiff shares fault for the injury underlying the claim, joint liability is limited to two times the defendant's percentage of fault.
Medical malpractice actions must be commenced within two years from the date of discovery of the act or omission, to a maximum of 10 years after the date of that act.
Missouri does not impose special limits on attorney's fees in medical malpractice cases.


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