Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Medical malpractice is negligence by a doctor, counselors, psychologist or psychotherapist against a patient caused by the misdiagnosis of a disease or failure to diagnose a medical condition or injury of some kind. In certain situations where the evidence is overwhelming, the patient can pursue a lawsuit by retaining a medical malpractice lawyer to take on the case.

In the state of Rhode Island, the law does not put limits on medical malpractice damages the medical malpractice lawyer can claim for the client.

In recent Rhode Island medical malpractice news, a former truck driver was awarded $4 million after it was found his orthopedic surgeon caused him physical and mental damage. One and a half million was for physical pain, $1.5 million was for mental suffering, $500,000 was for disfigurement, and then $500,000 for lost wages. When he was a truck driver, he experienced pain in his right arm, and the surgeon operated so his movement would improve and removed a benign tumor. A few weeks later, the truck drivers right hand began to change color, hurt, change temperature, and sweat. He was diagnosed with Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, because a nerve had been sliced, and it causes severe pain. His hand is now in a claw-like form, and has become addicted to pain killers so he can fall asleep.
There are different elements in a medical malpractice case that have to be brought forth in order to have a case become truly successful. They have to show that a duty was owed; there is a legal duty that exists whenever a health care provider or hospital engages in the care or treatment of a person. Showing that the duty was breached is important, meaning that the provider did not conform to the standard of care that is supposed to be upheld in the field. This is proven by an expert testimony or by obvious errors. One has to show 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.

There is a traditional Collateral Source Rule in Rhode Island that indicates the defendant is not able to reduce the liability by introducing any evidence pertaining to previous lawsuits filed by the plaintiff in other cases where the plaintiff has received monetary damages or insurance coverage. However, collateral source payments from disability income or workers compensation from the state can be admitted into evidence. The jury can use that amount to reduce any other damages awarded.

An expert witness who testifies in a Rhode Island medical malpractice case must be knowledgeable, experienced, have adequate training and education in the field of medicine or industry.

There may be one or more defendants liable in the medical malpractice lawsuit for the injury that the patient suffered. If that is the case, under the previous traditional rule of joint and several liabilities, each individual defendant would be responsible for the entire monetary amount awarded. However, the traditional joint and several liabilities have been eliminated and are only used in cases that involve misrepresentation. If one of the defendants were unable to pay, then the other defendant would be liable to the patient.

According to the statutes of limitations in the state of Rhode Island, medical malpractice cases must begin within three years to the date that the injury occurred. For injuries to minors under 18 years old, the Rhode Island law suggest that the statute of limitations begins on a minor's eighteenth birthday.

There are no limitations on the fees that attorneys can charge in a medical malpractice case in the Sate of Rhode Island.

In addition, if the state presumes that statements in the case were written by the expert, and came from a published book, periodical, pamphlet or any other recognized sources, those statements would be admissible in court and used as evidence in the medical malpractice case.


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