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Guidelines for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: What Clients Should Know

By Norman Younker on December 15, 2014


Medical malpractice lawsuits are cases that involve errors made by doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff who do not provide a proper standard of care. The mistakes result in harm to a patient, and in serious cases, the mistakes can prove fatal. That's why having the counsel of experienced and well-respected medical malpractice lawyers in Utah is so important for your case.

The team at our firm would like to cover some of the basic guidelines of medical malpractice lawsuits, giving you some idea of what is involved and how we will be able to help you.

Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

Some common types of medical malpractice cases include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis - Misdiagnosis refers to cases in which the incorrect health issue is diagnosed and the improper treatment is performed.
  • Delayed Diagnosis - Delayed diagnosis refers to cases in which a doctor could have made a correct diagnosis earlier based on tests and evidence but failed to do so.
  • Surgical Mistakes - Errors during surgery could mean operating on the wrong part of the body, leaving surgical equipment inside of a patient, errors in anesthesia, and actions that contribute to infection or other complications.
  • Birth Injuries - Any mistakes made in the prenatal care or delivery process can lead to serious injuries to a baby than can have long-term repercussions.
  • Prescription Errors - Prescribing the wrong medication, failing to account for contraindications, and giving the wrong drugs at the pharmacy are types of serious prescription errors with serious consequences.

The Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim

In general, clients must demonstrate that there was an established doctor-patient relationship in which the medical professional provided care in a professional setting. There also needs to be a demonstration of negligence on the part of the medical professional such that he or she failed to provide reasonable and skillful medical care. Evidence should also be present that the act of negligence was responsible for harm of some kind occurring.

The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice In Utah

The legal claim must be brought against the medical professional(s) within the statute of limitations. This is a timeframe during which time a legal action can be initiated, ensuring the fidelity of evidence and witness testimony. Filing a claim outside of the statute of limitations is not permitted.

In the state of Utah, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the negligent act, or two years from the date that an injury was discovered that was the result of a negligent act. The sooner you can begin the legal process, the better.

Seeking Damages to Cover Losses and Hardships

During a medical malpractice lawsuit, damages will be sought in order to compensate an injury victim for the hardships that he or she has faced. There are two kinds of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages.

  • Compensatory Damages - Compensatory damages will cover material losses that have been experienced. This includes the cost of additional medical treatment, lost wages, lost future income due to changes in earning potential, and so forth.
  • Punitive Damages - Punitive damages will address the nature of the incident, providing compensation for injury victims beyond the scope of material losses given the nature of the negligence and the harm that arose from it.

Both of these kinds of damages can be discussed in more detail with our attorneys.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers

For more information about your legal rights following a surgical mistake, misdiagnosis, or other kinds of poor treatment, be sure to contact our team of medical malpractice lawyers today. Our attorneys will work with you to make sure you understand all of your legal options.

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